The Long Game: How to Preserve Your Cardiovascular Health as a Young Adult
Many people view cardiovascular health as a later in life concern, but that false assumption can set yourself up for failure. In fact, the habits and lifestyle that you curate in your younger years can have a drastic effect on your life in the long term. Taking care of your cardiovascular health is a lifelong process that should start while you are young. Preventative measures and lifestyle choices can reduce your risk for a cardiac event such as a heart attack or stroke later in life.
National Blood Pressure Education Month is nearing its end, and yet most people are still blissfully unaware of their numbers. There is a general lack of awareness for how to take care of the heart, so many people go into their adult life with habits that are raising their blood pressure. This is a great time to take stock of your heart health since public health is a major concern at this time.
Women are particularly vulnerable to misinformation about their heart health. Women, especially younger demographics, are unaware of the risk that heart disease presents for them. A survey concluded that only 10% of young women could name cardiovascular disease as a leading cause of death for women, whereas 64% of older women were able to identify the threat. The first step to creating a heart-healthy life is educating yourself about the potential risks that you face.
Why Does it Matter?
Most people assume that youth provides the freedom of having to worry about heart health. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Studies have shown that if an individual reaches middle age with proper cardiovascular health, their life expectancy exceeds that of a similarly aged person with cardiovascular concerns such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. By looking at three factors, cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose levels, you can get an approximate estimate of general cardiovascular health, and these figures can be used to estimate your risk for a potential cardiac event. If you have a healthy number for these three factors in your younger years, it has been clinically linked to a longer life span.
Living a Healthy Lifestyle
One of the best ways to achieve good cardiovascular health is through a heart-healthy lifestyle. Curating this lifestyle is a combination of choices. Your diet is a massive determiner. It’s a common trope that young adults don’t eat exactly the way that they should, but by changing your diet a bit, you can help to prevent issues later on. Try eating a diet that is lower in fat and sodium, as these types of foods have been linked to increased blood pressure. Additionally, a generally healthy diet can help prevent obesity, and diabetes, which has been shown to put excess stress on the heart muscles.
Managing your stress in your younger years can also help to prevent heart disease later on. Anxiety has been linked to a plethora of cardiovascular issues. Finding healthy ways to manage stress and anxiety in your young adult life can set the foundation for mental stability later on.
Not only is May National Blood Pressure Education Month, but it is also National Stroke Awareness Month. While strokes are most common amongst senior citizens, choices that you make in your younger years can impact your overall risk later on in life. Prevention at a younger age is much more effective than managing issues after they arise, so start taking steps towards a healthier lifestyle today!
For more guidance on how to live a heart-healthy life, check out our blog!