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Quit smoking and see a doctor: Tips on preventing heart disease

Quit smoking and see a doctor: Tips on preventing heart disease RBC-Ukraine collage
Author: Maria Kholina

Heart and vascular diseases are the leading cause of mortality in Ukraine. Like all chronic illnesses, they develop slowly over the years and are irreversible, dependent on numerous factors. Primarily, they are influenced by lifestyle, along with genetic predisposition, social isolation, socioeconomic status, and the nature of one's profession.

Ukrainian Ministry of Health shared some guidelines to prevent heart diseases.

Quit smoking and reduce your alcohol consumption as much as possible. Smokers are three times more likely to die from a heart attack or sudden cardiac arrest and twice as likely to experience a stroke. Quitting smoking and limiting alcohol intake are the best steps you can take for your heart health.

Monitor your blood glucose, overall cholesterol levels, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels. Have these tests done annually or as recommended by your doctor. If you have diabetes, continuously monitor your blood glucose levels.

Keep your blood pressure under control: regularly measure your blood pressure, take prescribed medications to prevent hypertension, and reduce salt consumption (avoid over-salting your food and cut back on processed meats).

4. Stay physically active at any age. This can include walking, weightlifting (using water bottles as weights), or using resistance bands, rather than intense physical exertion.

If your body mass index (BMI) exceeds 25, and especially if it's above 30 kg/m², consult with a doctor or psychotherapist to analyze the reasons for your weight gain and create a plan for weight normalization. This can be challenging, especially in the case of obesity, but optimizing your lifestyle or identifying any organic causes of weight gain, if they exist, is necessary.

Normalize your diet. Choose whole, seasonal, local plant-based foods, grains, lean poultry, eggs, and fish. Heart-healthy food does not contain margarines, has limited animal fats, salt, and added sugars.

Manage stress. Coping with difficult times involves the ability to tolerate uncertainty, accepting things we cannot change, and taking responsibility for what we can control.

Regularly visit your family doctor with whom you have signed a declaration and undergo preventive screenings as recommended. If necessary, your doctor will refer you for an electrocardiogram (ECG).

This material is for informational purposes only and should not be used for medical diagnosis or self-treatment. Our goal is to provide readers with accurate information about symptoms, causes, and methods of detecting diseases. RBС-Ukraine is not responsible for any diagnoses that readers may make based on materials from the resource. We do not recommend self-treatment and advise consulting a doctor in case of any health concerns.