At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
Cardiac disease or heart disease means diseases affecting blood vessels and heart. It is impossible to always prevent cardiac disease. Some conditions like congenital heart defects still defy explanation; a few things are linked to greater instances of heart defects in children and avoiding these may lower risk. There are certainly methods for greatly reducing risk of adult heart disease, too. Yet things like genetics may make people more likely to develop certain heart conditions, despite preventative measures.
The average person without elevated genetic risk for heart disease has a much better chance of preventing it with simple behavioral modifications. These include maintaining healthy weight. Those who are obese or morbidly obese are more likely to develop cardiac conditions, and keeping a normal weight through life can prevent cardiac disease. People are advised to reduce weight, if needed.
Eating a heart-healthy diet throughout life can help prevent cardiac disease and be part of weight maintenance. Good diet guidelines exist through organizations like the American Heart Association, which stress eating less fat, lean proteins, plenty of vegetables/fruit, and complex carbohydrates. Some other suggestions made to prevent cardiac disease include supplements like fish oil, which is said to protect heart health, and potentially drinking a glass of wine or grape juice a day. Drinking too much alcohol may shift the balance in the other direction, elevating heart disease risk.
A good diet must be combined with regular exercise to prevent cardiac disease. It’s recommended people remain active and commit to at least three twenty-minute workouts weekly. Doing more may help more, and even doing a little can provide some benefit. A mild to moderate workout every other day for at least thirty minutes is optimal, and cardiovascular activity, which can be as simple as walking, is most recommended.
The one thing most people can do to prevent cardiac disease or greatly minimize its risk is to never smoke. If people are currently smoking, they really need to quit. Not only does this behavior greatly increase risk of a variety of cancers, but it additionally hugely elevates risk of many kinds of heart and breathing disorders. There are a variety of stop-smoking aids and supports and trying one of these, or more than one, makes good sense.
It’s also important for people to pursue routine physical care with a doctor. While this may not prevent cardiac disease, it could catch early signs of it when it is still imminently treatable. Ask doctors about routine cardiac screening and follow these guidelines to make certain the heart is healthy.
As for heart defects, some suggestions on lowering risk include avoiding alcohol and/or drugs like cocaine during pregnancy. Recent studies suggest that folic acid may help reduce more than neural tube defects and taking it may prove vital to fetal heart health and development. Folic acid supplements are recommended for all women who are trying to get pregnant, and are most ideally taken prior to conception and during pregnancy.