Prevent cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the world. According to estimates by the World Heart Federation , they cause 18.6 million deaths a year. However, this figure could be reduced if the appearance of cardiovascular disease were prevented, an objective with which World Heart Day is celebrated every September 29.

To achieve this, it is key to monitor the main risk factors , such as high cholesterol levels , hypertension , diabetes and obesity . A healthy lifestyle that includes a proper diet, such as the Mediterranean diet , incorporates sports into the daily routine and avoids tobacco is the main tool we have to keep cardiovascular risk factors at bay. But in addition, emotional well-being and air quality also play a fundamental role in cardiovascular health.

emotional well-being

Emotional disorders affect more than a third of the European population . In Spain, 5.4% of the population suffers from some type of depressive disorder, which represents 2.1 million people. Considering the severity of the symptoms, 230,000 are considered serious, according to data from the INE .

Cardiovascular health can be affected by these disorders. Specifically, high levels of stress increase the risk of suffering a heart attack, just as depression increases the chances of suffering from coronary heart disease . Insomnia can also directly affect heart health: according to the ‘Insomnia and risk of cardiovascular disease’ meta-analysis , the risk of developing or dying from cardiovascular disease is increased by 45% in people with insomnia compared to those without sleep disturbances .

Treating these problems in order to enjoy good emotional health has a positive effect on cardiovascular health. Sleeping well, exercising, relaxing and keeping a positive attitude are some of the tools that can help you achieve this.

Air quality

According to WHO data, air pollution may be related to 25% of all deaths from ischemic heart disease and 24% of deaths from stroke . Therefore, improving air quality is essential for cardiovascular health, for which policies are needed that invest in cleaner transportation, energy efficient homes, electricity generation, industry regulation, access to clean fuels and technologies, and improvement of municipal waste management.

But, in addition, individually we can try to reduce the impact of pollution on cardiovascular health by walking or cycling instead of driving, avoiding streets with traffic; checking the levels of air pollution through mobile applications that indicate what the air quality is like; and exercising regularly on green routes.

 

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