Gum disease can indicate a risk of heart disease. Studies show that maintaining good dental hygiene can reduce your risk of heart conditions. If left to grow, the bacteria that develops in the mouth can not only cause gum disease, but can also get into the bloodstream causing an increase in C-reactive protein levels. Linked to inflammation of the blood vessels, this process can result in increased risk of heart disease or stroke.
The many benefits of a varied and balanced diet comprised of nutritious foods from all the main food groups include help with controlling weight, blood pressure and cholesterol. More specifically, you can boost your heart health by eating less salt, replacing unhealthy fats with healthy fats, and limiting your consumption of alcohol.
The importance of getting sufficient good quality sleep cannot be overstated. A shortage of sleep can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, regardless of your age, lifestyle and general health. Research indicates failing to get enough sleep has a negative effect on underlying health conditions and biological processes, including blood pressure and inflammation.
Everyone knows that smoking damages the lungs, but it is also bad for your heart. Research has linked smoking to coronary heart disease, which can lead to heart attacks. While smoking causes a buildup of fatty substances in the arteries, secondhand smoke is also linked to cardiovascular disease. In fact, research has found that there is as much as a 30% greater risk of developing heart disease among those exposed to secondhand smoke.
Regular exercise is one of the keys to a healthy heart. According to the American Heart Association, a typical week should include 150 minutes of moderate exercise of 75 minutes of vigorous activity. Ideally this should be spread over 3-5 days each week. It doesn’t matter whether you walk, run, workout in the gym or play a sport – just get moving. Try to find an activity or sport that you enjoy so that you’re more likely to stick at it.
The First Class Honors M.D., Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, 2010 Faculty of Medicine Chulalongkorn University , 2010