Many people are less concerned about their vascular or circulatory system health. While the prevalence of vascular conditions comes with age, you should maintain a healthy vascular system, regardless of your age. Knowing the specific risks of developing various vascular conditions goes a long way in preventing them.
Risk factors, such as high blood pressure, diet, weight, and diabetes, increase your chances of developing vascular conditions. However, most vascular diseases are hereditary. If your family has a history of atherosclerosis or other vascular diseases, consider visiting a vascular doctor sooner.
Risk factors for vascular diseases
The following factors increase the chances of developing vascular conditions:
Known diabetics should check their blood glucose levels regularly to mitigate vascular diseases. Individuals with glucose intolerance should also monitor their sugar levels, primarily through diet. People with diabetes often develop atherosclerosis differently than non-diabetics.
Smoking is a lifestyle choice that affects your general health. It is a predisposing factor to several diseases, including vascular conditions. Smoking speeds up the development of vascular conditions by:
- Accelerating atherosclerosis
- Blocks and constricts blood flow, significantly reducing blood flow
- Thickens blood, limiting its ability to pass through blood vessels
Weight gain or obesity
Obesity and uncontrolled weight gain affect your general health and well-being. You should maintain a healthy body weight and BMI to control these risk factors. Regulating your weight helps control blood pressure, reduces the risk of diabetes, and maintains cholesterol levels.
You should maintain normal levels of bad cholesterol in your blood. Cholesterol increases the rate of atherosclerosis in your blood vessels. Surprisingly, a tenth of cholesterol in your body comes from diet, while the rest is manufactured in the liver. Watching your diet goes a long way in ensuring you remain healthy and free from various health conditions.
Tips for maintaining your vascular health
You can improve and maintain your vascular health through the following:
Eating a healthy diet
You should watch your eating habits to maintain a healthy vascular system. This essentially means avoiding food items with bad cholesterol and saturated fats, as they contribute to the buildup of plaques in the vascular system. A high-protein and fibre diet improves blood flow and regulates blood pressure. A healthy diet should include lean meat, fish, poultry, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Smoking is directly linked to poor vascular health. Nicotine and other chemicals found in cigarettes thicken the blood and accelerate atherosclerosis. You should avoid chewing tobacco and cigarette and cigar smoking. You should also watch your drinking habits. Excessive alcohol consumption causes hypertension and causes narrowing of peripheral arteries.
Regulate blood pressure levels
More than 103 million Americans are known to have hypertension. If left uncontrolled, high blood pressure slowly damages blood vessel walls, which causes ruptures or leakages. Monitoring your blood pressure improves your vascular health. It also reduces the risk of heart failure, stroke, kidney damage, and heart attack.
Exercising and regular physical activities also significantly boost your vascular health. However, this doesn’t mean spending hours in the gym or on fitness tracks to improve circulatory health. Simple exercises, such as swimming, walking, jogging, and yoga, are beneficial to the circulatory system. For instance, walking 30 minutes daily increases leg circulation and promotes tissue vascularization.
Maintain a healthy weight
Losing weight and fighting obesity go a long way in improving your overall health and well-being. Excess weight in the body often stems from stored fat, which can clog blood vessels. If you have a high BMI, losing weight improves blood flow and prevents vascular diseases. Maintaining a healthy weight also helps avoid several lifestyle diseases.
Manage your stress
While there’s no direct link between stress and blood circulation, chronic stress leads to various health issues that affect your vascular health. For instance, chronic stress can lead to increased blood cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure, all of which negatively affect your vascular health. Stress also contributes to various physiological changes in the body that promote the plaquing of blood vessels.
Though often ignored, vascular health affects overall health and wellness. Health issues like diabetes, blood pressure, and lifestyle choices, such as smoking and excessive weight gain, contribute to poor vascular health. If not checked, this can lead to various vascular diseases which aren’t treatable.
Ellen Diamond, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.