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In the last 50 years overall sleep duration has decreased on average of one-and-a-half to two hours per night. Short sleepers had a 48 percent increased risk of coronary heart disease.

The heart, the power source of life, is critical for living a long and healthy life. Besides several basics like sleeping enough and losing weight, you also need to know that laughing and daily aspirin therapy also protect the heart’s health

As a cardiac surgeon I touch the lives (hearts) of about 100 people annually, but in fact I always write in this column so that thousands of readers are alerted before we have to meet on the operating table. This is probably a duty I personally assigned for myself, but it is evident that teaching about health basics has shown to improve health. Today let’s go on with my area of expertise; heart disease.Your power source, your heart, is the organ that sits right in the middle of your chest cavity and beats continuously. It is so important to know the essentials of keeping your heart healthy, yet the only thing people tend to know about their heart is the size, just about the size of one’s fist! In order to increase the longevity of our lives, one needs to understand that the heart is the most important organ in the body since it is the organ that helps supply the body with blood and oxygen.

At first one needs to know several basics that will aid in heart health. After long research we have come to the conclusion that basic lifestyle changes will help protect your heart. Sleep is at the top of my list. A lot of people suffer from insomnia, either we are thinking way to much or not managing our daily rhythm perfectly. In the last 50 years overall sleep duration has decreased on average of 1.5 to 2 hours per night. In a meta-analysis that was published in the European Heart Journal, short sleepers had a 48% increased risk for coronary heart disease. But the good news is that scientific evidence shows that seven to eight hours of sleep daily will protect you from heart disease.

The second essential step needed to keep your heart healthy is to lose any excessive weight you may have. It’s not a cliché believe me! Being overweight burdens your heart, which in turn will lead to heart problems. Since your heart muscle size doesn’t change initially, the more you gain the more body surface area you will have and the more your heart needs to work. Besides all other heart diseases that obesity causes, it strains your heart and will tire it out. When we are talking about heart disease alone, especially hypertension, you don’t need to shed off 20 kilograms right away, even if you lose five kilograms you will feel the benefits right away. Scientific evidence shows that losing as little as five kilograms may lower your blood pressure. Benefits of losing weight go beyond your heart, it is also essential for higher energy levels. If you don’t consume all your energy to keep up with that big body, you will have the chance to use that energy elsewhere and will have the ability to do more activities.

Do you laugh at all? Or even frequently? Laughing is something magical to your heart! Our physiology changes when we laugh. Once you start laughing you stretch your muscles starting from your face to your body. During this stretching our pulse and blood pressure will go up and deliver more oxygen rich blood to our tissues. There are physicians that call laughing a mild exercise! Yes, it has been shown that about 10 to 15 minutes of laughing will cause you to burn 50 calories! Scientific research suggests that laughing may decrease stress hormones, reduce the inflammation in your arteries, and increases your good cholesterol levels! Well that’s why I advise you to watch a comedy at least once a week! Have you ever thought of a comedy movies benefit before?Take action towards your stress! Human relationships are very important for our heart health. You’re having a bad day? Just spell it out, and let it go… Being in interaction and communication with the people you care about may be beneficial for your emotional health. This reduces the pressure on your heart. Take the time to contact and socialize with at least two people per week. Take this as a suggestion; call a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to for a very long time. Reducing stress will aid in losing belly fat, one of the major problems we currently have!

Daily aspirin therapy is another critical thing you should know. Daily aspirin therapy can be a lifesaving option, but it’s not for everyone. Baby aspirin may help prevent and reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke. Surprisingly, recent research on aspirin presented that it may be associated with the prevention of all types of cancer. If you’re a man older than 50 or a woman older than 60, and you’ve never had a heart attack, but you’re at high risk of having one, your doctor may suggest daily aspirin therapy for you. In order to clear up the clouds on your question about aspirin therapy, always consult your doctor before you begin to use aspirin.

If you are wondering how often you should see your doctor, the answer is easy. Always see your doctor if you notice any changes in your overall health or daily routine. In general, women see changes in their health but overlook it and then realize that they were actually more serious than they thought. If you notice a negative development, even if it is the slightest change in your health, you should see a doctor about it. Never forget that, you know your body better than anyone. The most common symptoms for heart disease are shortness of breath and chest pain while doing exercise or anything that consumes more energy than lying down.