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ABCDE to A Healthy Heart

Prepared by Nutritionist Chen Yin


Atherosclerosis – narrowing of the arteries caused by a build-up of plaque around the artery wall, is the major issue linked to heart disease. It can lead to serious health problems, including heart attack, stroke, or even death. The risk factors associated with atherosclerosis including a sedentary lifestyle, an unhealthy diet that leads to elevated lipid and cholesterol levels (especially LDL cholesterol), high blood pressure, and smoking.1

Prevention is better than cure and it can be done through the adoption of a healthy diet, lifestyle, and proper supplementation (What Ingredients Do You Need for A Healthy Heart?) which can have a positive impact on our heart health. 1 Introducing a modified edition of ABCDE method that may promote healthy heart as follow.2

 

Awareness: Awareness signifies the ability to identify the signs and symptoms of heart disease such as chest pain or discomfort, discomfort in other areas of the upper body, shortness of breath, fatigue, and nausea.3

Blood pressure: High blood pressure (HBP) is often led to hypertensive heart disease, heart attack, and stroke if left untreated. People with HBP are advised to monitor and treat their condition with appropriate lifestyle modification and medication through professional consultation.4

 

Cholesterol/Cigarette: Cholesterol can build up in the walls of your blood vessels and eventually blocking blood flow, which may result in heart attack and stroke.5 Reducing the intake of fats that will raise “bad” cholesterol LDL can help lower the risk of heart disease.6

Studies have shown that smoking contributes to decreasing “good” cholesterol HDL in the blood which is detrimental to heart health.7 Quitting smoking will lower the risk of heart disease and improve your heart health. Besides, try to avoid secondhand smoke as well.8

 

Diet: You are what you eat and a healthy diet leads to a healthy heart. Some heart-healthy diet modifications include6

  • limiting saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol by reducing intake of red and processed meats
  • minimizing salt and sugar intake
  • emphasizing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and nuts
  • cooking with healthy oils, such as vegetable oil

Exercise: Studies have shown that regular physical activity is beneficial for heart health and is associated with profound reductions in the risk of heart disease.9 A minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise include walking, running, swimming and cycling each week may help to lower cholesterol and HBP which are keys to lowering the risk of heart disease.6
 


References

  1. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/atherosclerosis
  2. Michael J. Blaha, Sandeep Bansal, et al. A Practical “ABCDE” Approach to the Metabolic Syndrome, August 2008;83(8):932-943.
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/about.htm
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/about.htm
  5. https://www.cdc.gov/cholesterol/myths_facts.htm
  6. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/prevention-and-treatment-of-high-cholesterol-hyperlipidemia
  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US); National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (US); Office on Smoking and Health (US). Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US); 2010.
  8. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/smoking-and-your-heart
  9. Matthew A. Nystoriak* and Aruni Bhatnagar. Cardiovascular Effects and Benefits of Exercise, 2018; 5: 135.

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