HIV/AIDS is one of those infections that takes a toll on the body of the person infected in many different ways. In the month of February , the month of love and (more importantly), American heart month, I thought it would be a good time to take a look at some of the effects that HIV/AIDS has on the heart, and what you can do to decrease your chances.
We all know that heart disease is a huge problem in the African American community, but did you know that if you are infected with HIV/Aids then your chances of developing this disease goes up? (talking about adding on to an already heavy load!). HIV affects your immune system mainly, but that doesn’t mean that the disease will only affect your T-Cells. You see, when you are infected with HIV/Aids, your body is constantly trying to fight off this infection, and can leave you with chronic inflammation. This inflammation is what causes the increase in your chances of heart disease.
It’s saddening to hear, I know, but there are some things that you can do to help your body fight disease and remain as healthy as possible.
Change your diet
One of the biggest things affecting your heart is the food you eat. Switching up your diet to include more more fruits, vegetables, and healthy grains can make a big difference in your heart health and can help you feel better as well. (You can read more on what to eat to help anxiety and depression here.) Not only that, but a better diet can lead to weight loss, and even losing 10 pounds can make a big difference in your chances of fighting off heart disease.
Exercise more regularly
When I think of exercise I have always thought of sweaty people at the gym pushing themselves until they pass out. While motivating yourself to become better is a good thing, starting off with something as light as a regular walk can go a long way. Walking regularly for as little as 20 min can put you on your way to beating heart disease and put you in a much better mood too.
This one should go without saying, but as one of the leading causes of problems with the heart, quitting can increase your chances of beating heart disease dramatically. Smokers already have a 70% higher death rate from coronary artery disease than nonsmokers. Adding in these already high chances with the effects of HIV on the heart and it can be a death sentence. Need help quitting? Check out quit.com for all kinds of tips tricks and other resources to help you on your journey.
So that is the effect that HIV has on your heart and some simple and easy ways to decrease your chances of getting heart disease. As always You can get more information on HIV/AIDS from the U.S. National Library of Medicine here at their MedlinePlus website.
Live your best life sis, and remember that your best is also what’s best for you!