Natural Approach to Heart Disease
In many cases, dealing with heart disease through a natural approach is the best strategy for preventing or minimizing its effects. The approach involves eating a nutritious diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking (if you smoke). This strategy doesn't include herbs or dietary supplements. No scientific evidence indicates that these products reduce the risk of heart disease -- in fact, some can actually increase it.
When people talk about a natural approach to heart disease, it often begins with lifestyle choices. Research shows that people can lower their risk for heart disease enormously -- by as much as 82 percent -- simply by adopting sensible health habits. And it's never too late to start protecting your heart health. A recent study shows that among people ages 70 to 90, leading a healthy lifestyle reduces the chances of dying from heart disease by nearly two-thirds.
What does it mean to have a "natural approach to heart disease?" Here are the basics: If you eat a nutritious diet, get regular physical activity, maintain a healthy weight, and stop smoking, you will help keep your heart healthy. But adopting just one or two of these "Big Four" habits isn't enough to protect your heart. To keep your heart strong and healthy, it is vital to adopt and practice all four lifestyle habits.
Some people may need to take additional steps to prevent heart disease or to limit its complications, but in a lot of situations, it can still be done naturally. For example, if you have diabetes, you also will need to keep your blood sugar levels under control (see Diabetes Treatment). Eating a nutritious diet, controlling your weight, and getting more physical activity will help you to keep your blood sugar at a healthy level. These steps will also help reduce your chances of developing high blood pressure or high cholesterol, which are two other risk factors for heart disease. Whatever your current health condition or habits, adopting a natural approach to heart disease, in a lot of cases, is still the best weapon in the fight against this condition.