Vascular heart disease and the benefits of exercise


Vascular heart disease is a serious health condition which significantly impacts the circulatory system of the body. As the heart beats at a regular frequency, it pumps blood through a series of blood vessels like tubes which carry the blood to every area of the body. Vascular disease typically occurs when the arteries that carry blood away from your heart begin to harden in a process called atherosclerosis, following a thickening of the lining of the artery caused by plaques and fatty deposits. Because the arteries supply oxygen, blood, and nutrients from the heart to the body, hardened or narrow arteries lead to difficulty in blood flow. If any of the arteries which supply the heart (coronary arteries) end up becoming completely blocked, then the part of the heart muscle which cannot receive blood will die, causing a heart attack.

Cardiovascular disease, or vascular heart disease, can affect many people, starting at the age of 20 and increasing in severity as age advances. Although the exact cause of vascular heart disease remains largely unknown, several factors can accelerate the formation of dangerous deposits within the arteries, including:

  • Being overweight, lack of exercise, and unhealthy diet
  • High blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Smoking and stress
  • Family history of angina, vascular disease, heart attacks or stroke.

What can you do to help yourself?

As with most things, the prevention is better than the cure, and the best thing that you can do for yourself is take steps to prevent vascular heart disease from developing. First of all, consider whether you may belong to any particular risk groups, and remember that the factors are cumulative, meaning that the more you have, the greater risk you suffer of developing a problem. If you want to minimise your risk, then you need to start by taking better care of your body. This can mean a change in lifestyle and the consideration of various other elements.

First of all, quit smoking immediately - however difficult the process may be, quitting smoking has been scientifically proven to reduce the risk of cardiac problems by as much as 50% after only a single year. Next, consider the sort of diet that you regularly eat and see if there is anything that you may be able to do to improve it. This means staying away from excessive amounts of saturated fats and opting instead for plenty of high-fibre products and vegetables. If you're unsure about your diet choices, you may be able to speak to your doctor and see what she or he would recommend you focus on. Finally, exercise more and focus on losing weight if you are overweight. When it comes to boosting your health and potentially protecting yourself from various life-threatening diseases and issues further down the line, there is nothing quite as beneficial as exercise.

Vascular heart disease and physical exercise

Physical exercise is an exceptionally effective prevention technique in battling against cardiovascular illness. Over the years, evidence has continued to accumulate, suggesting that exercise significantly reduces the risk of vascular heart disease and other serious health problems. Simply engaging in some gentle exercise on a treadmill or vibration plate could be enough to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease significantly by ensuring that your heart keeps getting the regular activity it needs to work at full potential. Even those who are already affected by cardiovascular disease could continue to use treadmills and vibration plates, as it has been proven that they provide no harmful effects if utilised with the correct safeguards.

Evidence suggests that physical inactivity can as much as double the risk of vascular heart disease, and also accumulates to a major risk factor for stroke. Even regular walking at a brisk pace, or spending fewer hours on a daily basis sitting could be enough to reduce the chances of cardiovascular disease.

As well as the direct impact that physical exercise can have on the body's vascular and metabolic parameters, regular exercise, including walking, running and even swimming, can provide a range of alternative benefits through the reduction of the effects of depression, stress and anxiety in those who are at risk at suffering from vascular heart disease. Although, at this point, there is no conclusive consensus about the frequency or optimal duration of exercise that should be completed in preventing vascular heart disease, most experts agree that any exercise undertaken should be sustained for a long-term period, and should be regular, on a basis of around four to five times a week.

What sort of exercise is best?

Generally, the best kinds of physical activities for preventing and defending against vascular heart disease are aerobic exercises, including such things as regular walking, running, cycling, and swimming. Even common everyday activities such as gardening and dancing can be good for improving your resistance against heart-related illnesses. Patients with cardiovascular disease, however, should be advised to avoid exercises that cause raised abdominal pressure or strain, such as weight-lifting. Those ready to consider the beneficial effects of exercise should start slowly, with gentle walking either outside or using a treadmill, for short periods of time. Gradually increase the intensity and duration of the exercise over a period of weeks or months, waiting for your body to adjust to the new activities. It is best to avoid excessively erratic or sudden bouts of exercise if you are already suffering from vascular heart disease or are currently middle-aged, as this can increase the risk of myocardial infection.

Currently, there is no evidence that prolonged or vigorous periods of exertion provide excess benefits to those suffering with cardiovascular illnesses. However, those who take regular, gentle aerobic exercise are less likely to develop complications than those who remain inactive. Scientific evidence has proven that the benefits of regular exercise are available to people of all ages, from all walks of life, specifically when it comes to managing peripheral blood flow which is mediated through the enhanced endothelial nitric acid production in the body. Obviously, if you or a loved one are at risk from vascular heart disease, or currently suffering from the condition, it is important to speak to a doctor about what you can do to manage your illness. However, the evidence strongly suggests that exercise could be able to improve your quality of life significantly.

Please note this is a sponsored article which has been published in association with Ultim8 Fitness Ltd.