Sometimes people think that heart trouble only happens to “older” people and that if they’re relatively young (fifty and under) they aren’t at risk for a heart attack, but they would be wrong. Though statistically heart attacks or fatal coronary disease does strike the elderly at much higher rates, and males more frequently than females, but the fact is the young are not exempt from heart disease.
The American Heart Association reports that 0.3 percent of the 20 to 39 year old population, both male and female, equally suffers myocardial infarction, 3.3 percent of the 40 to 59 year old male population and 1.8 percent of the female population also are afflicted. To see all the American Heart Association statistics just click on the hyperlink above.
What You Can Do To Keep Your Heart Healthy
Given the proper set of circumstances and even simply just bad lifestyle habits anyone can develop heart disease at any age. Just because you are young doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start now to work on having a healthy heart. Eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise and sleep daily are a good start.
Even if you exercise daily if you have an otherwise sedentary day this can be dangerous to your heart health. If you are sitting behind a desk all day it is important to get up from your chair and take brief walks throughout your work day. Sitting in front of the television for hours at a time can be detrimental too, do some yoga while watching or dance during commercials, anything to keep you moving. Don’t think a daily workout is all you need to do to have a healthy heart.
Make sure you see your doctor at least once a year for a physical and know what your blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol numbers are. Beginning at age twenty you should have your cholesterol checked every three to four years.
If you smoke quit, if you can’t do it on your own consult with your doctor for options on what will help you kick the habit. If you don’t smoke don’t expose yourself to any form of secondhand smoke, whether it’s a friend that smokes in your presence, bar or restaurant that has a smoking area, or allow others to smoke in your home. Second hand smoke can cause harm to your heart.
Watch your waist line, studies have shown that there is a link between belly fat and coronary disease. A man’s waistline typically should not exceed 40 inches and a woman’s should not be more than 35. If after measuring your waist right around your bellybutton you have exceeded these parameters you should examine your diet and begin to slowly eliminate unhealthy foods from your diet and try increasing your activity level.
Limit your alcohol, one or two glasses of red wine a day can be healthy for your heart, but drinking more than that can contribute to heart disease. Alcoholic drinks should be limited to one per day for women and two for men and just as wine can be healthy for you so too can alcohol as long as you stay within your limits. But drinking should be done in a social setting or with dinner, drinking alone can lead to depression which can lead to heart disease if left untreated.
If you have depression, or have an episode of feeling depressed or unusually sad for more than a few weeks you should consult your doctor or a trained mental health professional. As stated above, untreated depression can cause coronary disease.
Being young is great, but don’t think you are invincible just because of it. Take care of yourself and that will take care of your heart!