According to the Ministry of Health in Singapore, fifteen people die from cardiovascular diseases every day, meaning that one out of every three deaths are linked to heart failure or a heart disease.
There are many factors that contribute to the development of heart conditions over time, one of which is exposure to constant stress either in the work environment or through stressful situations.
With time, these situations, coupled with an unhealthy lifestyle, can stress the heart. This eventually leads it to the heart weakening, or sometimes giving out entirely in the form of cardiac arrest, stroke, or heart failure. While a visit to the cardiologist, or heart doctor or heart specialist, and scheduling for a regular heart screening never hurts, this is often seen as a last resort among people with a hectic work schedule.
What Does a Healthy Heart Look Like?
Your heart is a sophisticated pump made out of muscles that oxygenates and channels blood throughout the entire body. It does this by squeezing and relaxing for about ninety times a minute for children, and about seventy times a minute for adults.
Some activities can add stress to the heart by weakening it or causing the build-up of plaque around the walls and arteries. This causes the blood to pump faster in order to keep circulating the blood normally, which in turn increases the pressure on the other blood vessels and arteries.
Steps to Keep Your Heart Healthy
The good news is that you don’t have to be one of these people to suffer from heart disease. Here are seven steps you can take to make sure your heart stays healthy:
1. Stick to a proper diet
Foods that are high in sugar and fat are one of the biggest contributors to the narrowing or clogging of the blood vessels and arteries, which eventually lead to higher blood pressure, and eventually, heart disease or heart failure.
2. Exercise regularly
Next to a proper diet, exercise is one of the best ways of keeping body fat and blood sugar to optimal levels within your system. As they are burned and converted into energy for your muscles, you will gradually start to build muscle mass in the areas of your body that you regularly use.
For instance, cardio exercises such as jogging or biking can increase your heart’s endurance, which allows you to do more and exert yourself without risking high blood pressure.
3. Get proper sleep
Lack of sleep and too much caffeine, when paired together on a regular basis because of our hectic everyday schedule, can eventually take its toll on one’s well-being leading to seek a heart specialist in Singapore as the build-up of stress increases a person’s heart rate.
Healthy adults need about seven to nine hours of sleep daily, and children and teenagers need more. To know exactly how many hours of sleep you need, write down the time you go to sleep and wake up without using an alarm.
4. Learn to manage stress
Lack of sleep and too much caffeine are not the only factors that increase stress, but also being in stressful situations or being in a stressful environment.
Long-term activation of your body’s stress response system results not only in depression, headaches, and digestive problems, but also puts you at increased risk of heart problems in the future.
Learning how to manage stress without resorting to unhealthy habits such as drinking or smoking can greatly help you maintain your current blood pressure, especially if you are prone or have a family history of heart conditions.
5. Lessen or stop doing things that increase your risk of heart disease
Everyone with a heart is at risk of getting heart disease later in life. However, there are a lot of factors that increase that risk, such as drinking, smoking (and exposure to secondhand smoke), unhealthy eating habits, and a family history of heart disease.
Though there are many ways to kick these unhealthy habits, the most important element to minimizing or avoiding these unhealthy habits is discipline. Once you are able to know and understand why you form the habits that you have, taking steps to minimize them or kicking them out entirely will be much easier.
6. See a cardiologist for a heart screening
A cardiologist is essentially a heart doctor, who looks at your heart through an X-ray and listens to your heartbeat through a stethoscope. There are many heart screening procedures that may be offered by your cardiologist, such as an electrocardiogram (ECG), where a machine detects abnormal heartbeats or scars in heart muscles that could indicate recent attacks.
Another screening procedure is the exercise treadmill, where you will be asked to exercise on a treadmill while a cardiologist takes your blood pressure and monitors the electrical activity in your heart.
Tilt table tests are also a form of heart screening procedure, where you will be asked to lie on a table that moves from horizontal to vertical position. This procedure monitors your heart rate and blood pressure as your body experiences changes in gravity and blood flow. Any anomalies that are detected would then be looked at carefully and diagnosed if needed.
Finding the best cardiologist or heart specialist in Singapore is not that difficult, as Singapore offers many government hospitals as well as private clinics that have a cardiology center.
Note: This list is compiled in no particular order.