Please join us at ECHO in recognizing World Heart Day, an annual international campaign meant to build awareness about heart disease and stroke prevention. Established by the World Heart Federation in 2012, World Heart Day is designed to to encourage small lifestyle changes that can make a powerful difference in the health of your cardiovascular system.
Cardiovascular disease, which includes heart disease and stroke, is the world’s number one non-communicable disease (NCD), accountable for claiming the lives of 17.5 million people each year. Engaging in certain healthy lifestyle practices can help protect your heart and control most of the major risk factors of cardiovascular disease.
ECHO has close connections to those managing heart and cardiovascular system conditions, as we actively educate families on the healing properties of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid extracted from plants like hemp. Studies have suggested that CBD may encourage heart health.
On this year’s World Heart Day, we’d like to share 5 tips on how to improve your heart health and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
1. Get active
Taking at least 30 minutes out of your day for physical activity can greatly reduce your risk of heart disease. Any type of activity that gets you moving continuously is good for your heart. We’re all pressed for time, so if you don’t have the capacity for full workout sessions, increase your overall activity level with movement that is easier to incorporate into your day, like taking the stairs, doing household chores, cycling to work, or playing an outdoor game with your kids.
2. Stop Smoking
The greatest risk to your cardiovascular system comes from smoking tobacco, but you can quickly improve the health of your heart by refraining from cigarettes and exposure to second hand smoke. According to the World Heart Federation, after stopping smoking for 15 years, the risk of heart attack falls to the same level as it would be for someone who has never smoked at all.
3. Regularly Check Your Numbers
Adults should have their blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose levels checked regularly. Unhealthy levels can indicate a cardiovascular problem. A blood pressure reading that is lower than 120/80mm Hg is optimal. A healthy resting heart rate ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute, although a lower heart rate indicates more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular fitness. Adults without diabetes should have a fasting blood sugar level that’s lower than 100 mg/dl upon awakening.
4. Eat Heart-Healthy Foods
Incorporate more fresh fruit, vegetables, lentils, flax seeds, and whole grain products into your daily diet. These foods contain more fiber, which helps reduce bad cholesterol levels. Hemp seeds are another good choice, as they’re high in dietary fiber and contain an optimal ratio of essential fatty acids to lower blood pressure, reduce blood clotting, decrease triglycerides, and decrease stroke and heart failure risk. Try to avoid saturated fats found in meats and dairy products that can increase cholesterol levels. Eliminate trans fats, as they raise bad cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart attacks.
5. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep plays an essential role in the maintenance of your wellness, including the health of your heart. A lack of sleep increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, regardless of your age or whether you regularly incorporate other healthy habits. One study that examined data from 3,000 adults over the age of 45 years found that those who slept fewer than six hours per night were nearly twice as likely to experience a stroke or heart attack as those who averaged six to eight hours of sleep every night.
Incorporating these healthy lifestyle tips into your routine can make a big impact on the health of your heart and cardiovascular system.
Additionally, a growing body of evidence suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) oil is beneficial for the cardiovascular system. CBD has shown to encourage vasorelaxation to improve blood flow and reduce blood pressure. Findings also indicate that it protects against vascular damage caused by high glucose and inflammation. In the heart, CBD has shown to protect against ischemia damage and against cardiomyopathy associated with diabetes.We recommend you discuss the possibility of incorporating CBD oil into your regimen with your doctor.
You can learn more about CBD by visiting our education page.
Have specific questions about CBD oil? Join our free ECHO Community to connect with physicians and others who have used or are using cannabinoids for health purposes.