3 Simple Ways to Improve Your Vascular Health

Vascular disease is a broad category of conditions affecting the circulatory system, including peripheral artery disease, aneurysms, renal artery disease, varicose veins, and blood clotting disorders. Together, these conditions can cause a wide range of debilitating health issues, including heart attacks, strokes, impaired kidney function, and even the loss of a limb. The following are a few steps you can take to keep your vascular system functioning properly.

Know Your Cholesterol Levels:

Excess cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood can cause fatty deposits to form in your arteries. These deposits can eventually slow or completely block the flow of blood or oxygen to your heart, which can result in a heart attack. Most doctors recommend getting cholesterol checked as early as your 20s. Your doctor will tell you how often you should check your cholesterol based on your medical history, family history, and other risk factors. Ideally, your total cholesterol level should be below 200 mg/dl. LDL cholesterol, sometimes referred to as “bad” cholesterol, should be between 70 and 130 mg/dl depending on your history and risk factors. Triglyceride levels should be below 150 mg/dl, and HDL, or “good” cholesterol, should be at least 45 mg/dl for men and 55 mg/dl for women.

Get Moving:

It cannot be stated enough how much exercise benefits the entire cardiovascular system. Exercise lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, reduces stress, improves peripheral circulation, and reduces the likelihood of obesity-related diseases, such as diabetes, that can affect vascular health. Adults should aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three to five days each week. If your current lifestyle is sedentary, you should start off slow with a low-impact exercise such as walking. You should also consult your doctor before starting any exercise routine to ensure that it is appropriate for you.

Make Small Changes in Your Diet:

You have probably heard the adage that you are what you eat. It is true that a number of risk factors affecting vascular health can be significantly impacted by your diet, including obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol.

• Try to lower sodium. The most recent government guidelines recommend that adults eat less than 2,300 mg of sodium each day. Most adults currently eat an average of 3,400 mg of sodium each day.
• Increase your intake of plant-based foods, including whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
• Include healthy fats in your diet like salmon, tuna, olive oil, seeds, and nuts.

Finally, if you are a smoker, you should take immediate steps to stop. Smoking raises blood pressure and constricts blood vessels, which hinders blood flow. If you have trouble kicking the habit, your doctor can recommend various smoking cessation measure, including medications and support groups.

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