Maintaining your heart doesn’t just add years to your life. It adds life to your years. It also helps prevent health issues, such as memory loss and erectile dysfunction. Here are just a few benefits of living a heart-healthy lifestyle.
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- Prevents erectile dysfunction. Men might not think about their heart every day, but there’s another organ about 2 feet south that they contemplate more often, and taking care of one protects the other. "The same things that cause arteries in the heart to get disease cause the arteries of the penis to get disease and dysfunction,” says Cleveland Clinic cardiac surgeon Marc Gillinov, MD, coauthor of Heart 411 with Steven Nissen, MD, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. Insufficient blood flow, because of clogged arteries, can cause erectile dysfunction.
- Reduces stroke risk. While a tepid sex life can be a serious downer, a stroke -- or brain attack -- can be a killer. A stroke occurs when blood fails to reach the brain, usually because of an abrupt arterial blockage. While a stroke is sudden, stroke risk factors can hunt you for years. On the most-wanted list are all the risk factors of heart disease: high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, and clogged arteries. People who have had a heart attack due to a hardening of the arteries have more than twice the risk of a stroke.
- Prevents dementia. Living a heart-healthy lifestyle may help protect against memory loss and other signs of mental decline. Certain forms of dementia are linked to changes in blood vessels in the brain. Middle-aged patients with several risk factors for heart disease are twice as likely to develop dementia in old age as middle-aged patients with only one risk factor.
- Prevents depression. People with depression are more likely to have heart disease, and people with heart disease are more likely to suffer from depression. Adhering to heart-healthy habits may help keep the blues away.
- Lowers your diabetes risk. Getting a diabetes diagnosis is like turning the clock ahead 15 years. Not only does it affect your body’s ability to use sugar, it also destroys blood vessels throughout your body, which can lead to stroke, heart disease, nerve damage, loss of limbs, and blindness. The same basic steps you take to prevent heart disease (e.g., eating better, dropping a few pounds if you need to, and walking most days of the week) also help prevent diabetes.
Maintaining your heart doesn’t just add years to your life. It adds
life to your years. It also helps prevent health issues, such as
memory loss and erectile dysfunction. Here are just a few benefits
of living a heart-healthy... More