Heart disease has been the leading cause of death worldwide for the past 20 years. Over these past two decades, there has been a sharp increase in cardiovascular disease-related deaths in Nigeria. Most people end up as victims because they can’t detect early signs of heart disease.
It is a common notion that heart disease is just one condition, but that’s not true. Heart disease is the term used to describe various conditions that affect the heart and cardiovascular system. These include hypertension, coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, hypertensive heart diseases, arrhythmias, heart failure, cardiomyopathies, valvular heart diseases, stroke, heart failure, and congenital heart diseases.
It is clear that heart disease is a very serious health condition that leads to death and disability. You may be thinking that heart disease tests are for particular people but not for you. To a large extent, your lifestyle determines the condition of your cardiovascular system.
The state of your heart, blood vessels, and blood are based on how you live your life every single day. Checking the condition of your heart from time would be incredibly beneficial for you. If any of the following 10 reasons apply to you, you definitely should consider a check.
1. To prevent an actual heart disease
Conditions such as narrowed arteries, blockage of blood vessels, heart muscle damage, and hypertension happen gradually. This can be a long-term process, taking many years to build up and turn from an issue into a serious medical problem. Getting tests done will inform lifestyle changes that can stop the gradual process that leads to heart disease. With no tests, no adjustment in lifestyle, and no treatment, over time the heart will be in even more trouble leading to death.
2. If you take alcohol
Casual drinking is something that many people engage in. People who drink regularly may even think that alcohol does not affect them. This is not true, it is essential to be aware and monitor your alcohol intake because it can affect your heart health. Regular heavy drinking can cause increased heart rate, irregular heartbeat, and increased blood pressure. Heavy alcohol intake can lead to and contribute to heart disease. Some of these include hypertension, stroke, heart failure, and cardiomyopathy.
3. If you are not physically active
Physical inactivity is a lack or the absence of physical activity (anything that increases your heart rate, causes you to breathe faster, and makes you feel warmer). Your body requires movement to remain in top health. This does not imply heavy exercising, regularly taking walks, cleaning the house or gardening are ways to keep your body moving. Being inactive can lead to a gradual increase of fatty material building up in your arteries. It is one of the leading risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.
4. If you smoke
Smoking is dangerous for cardiovascular health and is a major cause of heart disease. Even people who do not smoke can be affected, exposure to secondhand smoke can also lead to heart disease. Swelling, inflammation, and narrowing (through the buildup of plaque) of the blood vessels are some of the effects smoking can have. Smoking can damage the heart and the blood vessels quickly, however, improvement is possible for those who stop.
5. If you have hypertension
High blood pressure can cause artery damage by making them less elastic, reducing the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart and ultimately leading to heart disease. Hypertension is also referred to as a silent killer because it has no symptoms. Leaving it undiagnosed, untreated, or uncontrolled will only make things worse health-wise over time. High blood pressure is the cause of heart conditions known as hypertensive heart disease.
6. Due to the amount of salt in your diet
Sodium is good for you, but with everything in the body, there needs to be a balance. If there is extra sodium in the blood, more water will be drawn in which increases the pressure of the blood. The added pressure strains the heart because it is working harder and ultimately leads to heart disease. Sodium increases the risk of high blood pressure. Your intake of sodium comes from salt, so the more salt you take, the more sodium will be in your blood.
7. To help prevent diabetes
High blood sugar levels can cause damage to blood vessels and nerves that control your heart over time. So having diabetes puts you at a higher risk of developing heart disease. This disease can lead to high blood pressure and high cholesterol which are not good for heart health. Due to the fact that heart disease is common for those who have diabetes, it is essential for them to manage their blood glucose and check their heart health.
8. To be healthier in old age
Cardiovascular diseases have caused many premature deaths. This is not only due to advanced age but due to a lack of heart health over time. Lifestyle (physical activity, diet, etc) can be a determining factor in how your blood vessels and heart age. Healthy eating, coping with stress, exercise, and not smoking can delay the onset of heart disease later on in life. Cardiovascular disease is more common in older adults but what you do today will have an effect on your heart health when you are 65+.
9. If you have a family history of heart disease
If anyone in your family has had heart disease, the chances of developing the condition are higher. Getting heart disease tests will be in your best interest. This can be in addition to doing what you can to remain physically healthy so as to reduce the risk. Having close relatives who had or have an experience with heart disease does not have to mean that is also what you are destined for. Lifestyle changes and being aware of your heart health would be advantageous to your health.
10. To save future treatment costs
The process of investigation, diagnosis, medications, intervention and treatment can all be very costly. The advantage of preventative health testing is that when conditions are caught early, the overall cost will be significantly less. The cost of a lifestyle change and medications or treatment is vastly different. This is on top of the healthy and long life you would be able to enjoy.