Watching TV Increases Risk of Heart Disease

Do you remember your mother telling you that watching too much television wasn’t good for you? It appears as thought Mom may have been on to something. A group of researchers from Australia have found that every hour that a person spends watching TV increases a person’s chance of dying from cardiovascular disease by 18 percent!

TV watching isn’t the problem, exactly. It’s the act of sitting down to watch it that’s to blame. Many people spend their lives moving from one chair to another instead of having a healthy, active lifestyle. The conclusion the researchers came to was that too much sitting is not good for one’s health.

If you ever needed a reason to switch off the television and get off the couch, you’ve got one now. Instead of watching television for hours on end, find activities to do that will get your heart rate up and keep it there for several minutes at a time. Joining a gym is one option, but there are many others available.

Winter sports can be very enjoyable and are a great way to stay in shape. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and hiking are all options. Skating is an activity that people of all ages can enjoy.

People who are interested in participating in a team sport during the winter months may want to consider joining a curling league. There are teams available for people who are just learning the sport, as well as those who are experienced players.

It’s great exercise and a way to meet some new friends, as well.

Warmer temperatures mean that there are more opportunities to get active. Jogging, cycling and swimming are all activities that can help to keep the heart healthy and lower the risk of heart disease. Basketball, volleyball and tennis are ways to stay fit while participating in activities with other people.

If you have been relying on watching television as a way to fill in your leisure time, perhaps it’s time to shut it off and make a positive change in your lifestyle.

Good Heart Habits for Children and Teens Reduce Risk in Adulthood

The good news about adolescent heart disease is that it’s not a major cause of death for younger people. Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death for adults in North America, though. According to the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, someone dies every 37 seconds due to cardiovascular disease.

High Blood Pressure in Children

High blood pressure is a relatively rare occurrence in children. Approximately three percent of kids have this medical condition, which can be serious if it goes untreated. Part of a child’s annual checkup should include a blood pressure check.

A family history of high blood pressure means that a child’s blood pressure should be monitored carefully. high blood pressure riskHigh blood pressure in children may result from another medical condition, such as kidney disease.

Help Children Make Good Lifestyle Choices

Parents can have a big influence on their children’s health choices by making good ones themselves. Children watch what their parents do, and this can have a greater impact than what they say. Parents can help their children get off to a good start by doing the following:

  • Drinking alcohol only in moderation.
  • Quitting smoking (or not taking up the habit in the first place).
  • Eating a balanced diet that includes whole grains, lean protein, fruits and vegetables.
  • Getting regular exercise

A child to learns these good health habits early is more likely to continue to observe them in adulthood. Some of the risk factors for heart disease are not things that an individual can control, while adopting good health habits will lower the risk of of heart disease for adolescents and adults alike.

Eye Exams May Help to Diagnose Heart Disease

Researchers at the Centre for Eye Research Australia think that an eye exam can help to diagnose patients who have heart disease. Their work indicates that looking at the condition of the blood vessels of the retina at the back of the eye can give doctors an idea about the condition of blood vessels in the brain, heart, and kidneys.

The team is using computers to analyze thousands of images of eyes to determine whether this type of procedure can accurately indicate whether a person has heart disease. Finding people who are at high risk is important, since by the time the physical signs of heart disease are apparent, the individual has already sustained damage to their body.

If a non-invasive test like this one can help to diagnose heart disease earlier, then that is all the more reason to get eye exams regularly.

Majority of Americans at High Risk of Heart Disease

If you are at a high level of risk for heart disease, you are in good company. Less than 10 percent of Americans are at a low level of risk for the disorder, according to the results of a new research study published in the medical journal Circulation.

Only 7.5 percent of the population in the U.S. has none of the risk factors linked to heart disease:

  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol (more than 200 mg/dL)
  • High blood pressure (above 120/80)
  • Overweight or obese
  • Diabetes

Americans’ expanding waistlines are to blame for the lousy numbers. It’s true that smoking is less fashionable now than it was in the 1970s, but with the increasing numbers of people who are couch potatoes and the lower levels of physical activity in children, these numbers shouldn’t be all that surprising.

5 Foods to Eat to Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease

If you want to lower your risk of heart disease, make sure that you include these items in your heart diet.

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Whole Grains
  • Nuts
  • Tea

It’s easy to increase your consumption of fruits and veggies. Make a point of adding a side salad at lunch or dinner more often. If you have a choice between drinking orange juice or eating an orange, go for the whole fruit. You add valuable fiber to your diet and get a serving of Vitamin C as well.

Look for whole grains in cereals, breads, and pastas, and eat them whenever possible. As long as you don’t have any issues with nut allergies, eating almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, peanuts, or walnuts is a heart-heathy move. Drinking green or black teas can help to lower your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels.

5 Diet Tips to Cut Heart Disease Risk

Your diet is a factor in your risk for developing heart disease. You can lower this risk by making a few simple changes. Don’t worry; eating healthy foods doesn’t mean that the food you eat will be boring or that you need to completely sacrifice taste for your health.

If you want to lower your risk of heart disease by changing your diet, start slowly. Incorporate one heart-healthy diet change at a time and get used to it before changing something else. Most people don’t like change at the best of times, and you want to start eating better permanently, not just for a few weeks, to improve your health.

Here are 5 simple diet tips that will cut your risk for heart disease:

1. Choose fish or poultry more often.

Yes, you can still have red meat. You need to get into the habit of trimming off visible fat and buying meat that has less marbling.

2. Take the skin off chicken before cooking it.

Chicken skin has a high fat content, and you can either buy it without skin or remove it yourself.

3. Eat more fruits and vegetables.

Add fruit to your breakfast cereal or yogurt. Cut up carrots and celery sticks and have them in the refrigerator ready to eat. Put a bowl of fruit out in your kitchen so it is readily available when you are looking for a snack. Grate carrots and add them to soups and stews while cooking.

4. Read labels when grocery shopping and buy the lower-salt product.

We do need some salt in our diet to stay healthy, but most people consume way too much of it. Processed food can contain a lot of salt, so you will want to get in the habit of  buying the product with the lower amount of sodium in it.

5. Cut back on desserts and other sweets.

Dessert doesn’t necessarily need to be cakes and cookies. It can be a fresh fruit salad or some low-fat frozen yogurt. If you want to have something sweet occasionally, have a small portion and enjoy it. Then go back to making healthier choices most of the time.