Maintaining Good Heart Health
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Nearly 1 in every 4 adults dies from heart disease each year. So how can you make sure you don’t become a statistic? Easy. For most of us, all you have to do is maintain a healthy lifestyle. You can help prevent heart disease by making healthy choices and managing any health conditions you may have.
Here are some healthy habits that will help lower your risk of heart disease.
Eat a healthy diet. Be mindful of the food you put in your body and how it can affect you. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid processed foods which can be high in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol increase your risk of heart disease. Instead, choose foods that are high in fiber, while limiting salt and sugar intake, which can help lower your blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese increases your risk for heart disease. Your health care provider will be able to help calculate your body mass index (BMI) and set you on a path toward a healthy weight that’s right for you.
Be physically active. Get your heart pumping by doing some physical activity. The Surgeon General recommends 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking or bicycling, every week for adults. That’s only 20 minutes a day. Being physically active will help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar levels.
Don’t smoke. If you’re not a smoker, don’t start. If you are a smoker,
quitting will help lower your risk of heart disease. Talk to your health care provider about ways to help you quit. At Avita Health System, we provide a Tobacco Quit Program through our Medication Management Center where a highly trained pharmacist will work with you and your doctor to develop a specific plan just for you.
Limit alcohol consumption. Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure. Men should only have 2 drinks or less per day and women only 1 drink or less per day.
Of course, bad habits aren’t the only things that can increase your risk of heart disease. Other medical conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes, as well as a family history of heart disease, can all be detrimental to your heart health. If you have been diagnosed with any of these be sure to take your medication and follow your health care provider’s instructions carefully.
The single most important thing you can do to help reduce your risk of heart disease is making healthy choices. You may not be able to control your age or heredity, but even the smallest change can improve your heart health and lower your risk by as much as 80%. You don’t have to adjust your habits all at once. Take it one step at a time, day by day, and before you know it, you’ll be on your way to maintaining good heart health.
Categorized in: Cardiology