Heart disease is and has been the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States for years; with cancer following right behind it.
So let’s talk about the heart; why it matters, its purpose (besides keeping you alive) and how to keep it healthy.
What exactly is Heart Disease and Why is it So Deadly?
Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), also called Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease.
When someone has heart disease, the coronary arteries (tubes) that take blood to the heart are narrowed or blocked.
This happens when cholesterol and fatty material, called plaque build up inside the arteries.
What causes plaque?
- Too much fat and cholesterol in the blood
- High blood pressure
- Too much sugar in the blood (diabetes)
When plaque blocks the arteries, it’s hard for blood to flow to the heart and a blocked artery can cause chest pain, a heart attack or worse, death.
And we don’t want that!
Purpose & Functions of the Heart
Most people think the heart is an organ, but it’s really a muscle.
Well, it’s actually both…a muscular organ.
To put it simply, the purpose of the heart is to pump blood, oxygen and vital nutrients to every cell throughout our body.
But when the heart is not able to carry out its purpose efficiently, is when we start running into problems like clogged arteries, heart disease and high blood pressure.
Spiritually, the heart is the seat of our emotions, compassion and understanding.
So not only does it serve to keep us alive and our physical well-being intact, but our spiritual well-being as well.
5 Fun Facts About Your Heart
- The average heart is the size of an adult fist
- Your heart will beat about 115,000 times a day
- It pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood a day
- An electrical system controls the rhythm of your heart
- The heart can continue beating even after being removed from the body
Pretty cool stuff right?
Now that you know a little about the purpose, function and fun facts about the heart, let’s look at signs that can indicate your heart is in bad shape.
5 Signs Your Heart is in Bad Shape
- Extra belly fat, Overweight or Obese
- Shortness of breath or trouble breathing (while resting or active)
- Pain or discomfort in the center or left side of your chest
- Heartburn like sensations
- History of chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol
If you identify or experience any of the signs above, it’s vitally important that you take your heart health seriously. Your life literally depends on it.
5 Simple Ways To Keep Your Heart Healthy
- Avoid trans fats (found in cookies, cakes and fast food) that raise (LDL) bad cholesterol levels, & eat healthy, monounsaturated fats – like Omega 3 fatty acids – that raise the (HDL) good cholesterol.
- Move your body at least 30 mins a day 3xs a week- remember, your heart is a muscle.
- Get some sleep – the 7-9 recommended hours helps to reduce stress and risk of high blood pressure
- Cut the added salt- use Pink Himalayan Salt instead- but still keep it to a minimum
- Choose lean cuts of meat
- Eat your fruits and veggies + heart healthy foods (leafy greens, salmon, nuts, avocado, berries).
When your heart is in bad shape, it usually means you’re in bad shape.
Hopefully this helps you to see that your heart matters everyday, not just in February on Valentine’s Day.
So be good to your heart so it can do its job and help you live a long and healthy life!
Healthy & Happiness,