This is a guest post by Writer Molly.
Heart disease is the number one killer in the U.S., responsible for about 600,000 deaths each year – that’s one in every four deaths. Additionally, about 715,000 Americans suffer from a heart attack each year, and coronary heart disease costs the U.S. about $108.9 billion annually.
With this in mind, it’s important to remember the risk factors associated with this killer so you can work to prevent it from happening to you. Just because you’re still in college, doesn’t mean you can’t start thinking about the future of your health. Here are five of the most controllable risk factors.
In case you haven’t heard, nicotine constricts your blood vessels and carbon monoxide can damage their inner lining. What this does is make smokers more susceptible to atherosclerosis (buildup of fatty substances in arteries) and doubles their risk for heart attack.
If you’re a smoker, consider using a nicotine patches or possibly e-cigarettes (although they’re currently unregulated by the FDA) to reduce your doses of nicotine until you’re completely off. Even if you’re not a smoker, all of those late nights in smoky bars and parties can really add up, and take a toll on your lungs. If you know you’re going to be inside with smokers, take a lot of breaks to step outside and get some fresh air.
Eating healthy while in college can be a real pain. You’re too busy, broke, and tired to cook, so pizza is probably your major food group. If you’re eating foods that are high in fat and salt, then it’s probably time to take a cholesterol test and change your dietary habits. This test will measure the triglycerides (fat used to provide energy) in your blood. If your levels are high, your chances for heart disease increase. If you’ve taken a test and have found out that you have high levels, then consider including more vegetables and fruits in your diet and make fewer late night fast food runs.
After a long day sitting in class, and the hours of homework that follow, finding the motivation work out can be hard. But beware, because this inactivity will cost you in the long run. Lack of exercise is associated with developing one of the many forms of heart disease and some of its other risk factors. Not only will implementing a consistent exercise routine in your daily life help fight off heart disease, but it’ll also help ease the stress of deadlines and finals and give you a boost of energy to finish those big projects.
Speaking of stress; unrelieved stress in your life can damage your arteries and worsen other risk factors associated with heart disease. Whether it’s at work or at school, take time to confront the problems stressing you out so you can help lift the weight building on your shoulders. If you’re feeling really bogged down with a certain class, find a tutor. If money issues are weighing on your mind, talk to a parent or knowledgeable friend.
As stated above, exercising is also a great way to release stress in a positive way. Not only are you getting your frustrations out through the use of energy, which helps your mind, but you’re doing something good for your body too.
So how does someone who fails a cholesterol test share something in common with someone with bad hygiene? Well, for starters, you’re at risk for getting some form of heart disease. Not washing your hands regularly and failing to establish other sanitary habits (most significantly, having bad oral hygiene) can put you at risk of heart infections. After pulling an all-nighter in the library you’re probably not at your freshest. Those nights of bar hopping probably leave you smelling like a frat house. Remember to keep clean and shower regularly, so you can prevent viral and bacterial infections.
As the number one killer in the U.S., it’s important to arm yourself with the right habits so you can live longer and prevent getting any form of heart disease. By starting in college, you’ll be able to build yourself a solid routine that will benefit you later on in life.
Writer Molly is a prolific writer who spends all her time on the Internet writing about everything that fancies her. She is a well sought after guest writer who can write across all niches including, but not limited to, tech, gadgets, travel, finance, education, health, etc.
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