Preventing Heart Disease
Heart health is something that everyone should be concerned about – it’s the leading cause of death for both men and women. According to the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease accounts for one in four deaths in the United States. Family history plays a part in an individual’s risk for heart disease, however a healthy heart is often within your control. By living a healthy lifestyle, you can minimize your risk factors for heart disease. Here are seven ways you can take action to protect your heart.
- Eat a healthy diet. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Limit processed foods, sodium and sugar in your diet. Elevated sodium levels may lead to increased blood pressure.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight can lead to increased blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. When your weight is in a healthy range, your blood circulates more effectively and fluid levels are managed, which prevents strain on your heart.
- Get active. Physical activity helps maintain a healthy weight, and it lowers blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. Move throughout the day and exercise at least 30 minutes most days of the week, even if you have to break it into three 10-minute sessions.
- Do not use tobacco. Smoking or using any type of tobacco is one of the greatest risk factors for heart disease; it raises your risk of developing heart diseases by two to four times. By lessening the stress on your lungs, you reduce the stress on your heart.
- Limit alcohol. Avoid drinking alcohol which can raise your blood pressure.
- Obtain enough quality sleep. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Poor sleep increases your risk of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart attack.
- Get screened. High blood pressure and cholesterol can damage your heart. It is important to have your annual wellness visit and receive the recommended screenings to know what your numbers are. Your personal doctor will work with you on any areas where your risk may be higher.