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9 key tips for keeping health healthy

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Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women worldwide. The best possible way to prevent heart disease is to take good care of the heart. To stay fit and remain healthy, here are nine key tips that help improving the heart to work more efficiently.


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1) Avoiding excessive food consumption:

Excessive food consumption especially salty, sweet and fatty diet can potentially lead to increase the risks of developing heart disease. Researches suggest that certain diets containing high fat and cholesterol significantly raise the risk cardiovascular illnesses, such as atherosclerosis, a disorder in which arteries can lose their elasticity. The recommended proportion is 6-6-1, representing sugar less than 6 teaspoons, fat less than 6 teaspoons and salt limited to 1 teaspoon.

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2) Eating more whole-grain cereal:

High intake of whole-grain cereal is strongly linked to lowered risks of heart disease and hypertension. Several nutrients found in cereals have known potential mechanisms for reducing risk factors of heart disease e.g. the linoleic acid, fiber, vitamin E, selenium and folate. Cereals also contain phytoestrogens and several phenolic acids with antioxidant properties. Not only to control blood lipid levels e.g. cholesterol, whole-grain cereals help reducing blood sugar level, resulting in lowered risk of developing diabetes.


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3) Heavy exercise should be avoided:

According to the American Heart Association, exercising 30 minutes a day five days a week helps improving heart health and reducing risk of heart disease. However, in patients diagnosed with heart conditions, heavy or extreme exercise and activities must be strictly avoided. Prolonged strenuous exercise stimulate the heart to work even harder and it can increase risk of abnormal rhythms e.g. atrial fibrillation, characterized by rapid and irregular beating of the atrial chambers of the heart. In healthy people, fat burning exercises are recommended such as running, walking, cycling and swimming.

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4) Getting sufficient sleep with proper bedtime

Sleep is essential for a healthy heart. People who do not sleep sufficiently are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease regardless of other factors e.g. weight, age, smoking and exercise habits. Over time, this can lead to higher blood pressure during the day and a greater chance of cardiovascular problems. The researchers also found that keeping sleep duration at least 6–8 hours per night can reduce the risk of heart disease and other health problems. More importantly, to get healthy sleep pattern, proper bedtime is before midnight.


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5) Wearing a smart watch to monitor heart health:

Recent researches have shown the efficacy of wearable devices such as smart watch in improving the screening and detection of heart conditions e.g. atrial fibrillation. Mobile health technologies such as smart watches, fitness trackers and other phone applications have the potential to monitor heart rates during daily activities and enhance heart disease detection, resulting in early diagnosis made by expert cardiologists. Advanced medical technology designed and used in the hospitals, for instance, health application that is connected with hospital systems enables doctors and other healthcare staff to monitor health status of the patients, especially in case of emergency.


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6) Frequent traveling with active movement:

Traveling, particularly in the nature with fresh air plays a role in improving heart health since high concentration of oxygen allows the heart to work more efficiently. In addition, gentle hiking with proper distance promotes physical movements and strengths physical fitness.


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7) Quit smoking:

Chemicals in cigarette cause the blood to thicken and form clots inside veins and arteries. Blockage from a clot can lead to a heart attack and sudden death. In addition, smoking also damages the lining of the arteries, leading to a build up of fatty material which narrows the artery. When arteries tighten, it makes the heart work harder. Smoking also can trigger an irregular heart rhythm and raise blood pressure, which are leading causes of other serious-health problems e.g. stroke. The best possible way to reduce chances of cardiac disease and other health conditions is to stop smoking before getting too late when diseases have developed and progressed.


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8) Seeking for genetic screening if there is family history of heart disease:

Genetic testing for inherited heart disease can primarily predict the risks to develop heart conditions related to genetic mutations in patients with family history of hereditary heart disease. The standard recommendation is to continue annual check-ups regularly, especially in people aged over 40. If any abnormal signs or symptoms exhibit, immediate medical attention must be sought as soon as possible in order to receive accurate diagnosis and effective treatments.


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9) Proper exercise programs for patients with heart diseases:

A number of patients with cardiac disease might not know the appropriate exercise programs that are suitable for them. Cardiac rehabilitation is a medically supervised program provided by cardiac rehabilitation physicians, physiotherapists and other healthcare providers highly specialized in cardiac recovery. Cardiac rehabilitation programs are individually designed to improve cardiovascular health after the patients have experienced heart conditions such as heart attack, heart failure, angioplasty or heart surgery. The programs are determined by disease severity, lasting impacts of the disease and overall health’s status of each patient.


Dr. Anusith Tunhasiriwet
Cardiologists, Preventive Heart and Lipid Clinic, Bangkok Heart Hospital.