Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the U.S. It’s also the leading cause of death in men. Over five million men will experience a heart attack during their lifetime. After age 40, men have a 49 percent lifetime risk of coronary heart disease. And millions more are affected by other forms of cardiovascular disease. So how can we protect our hearts? By following a few simple guidelines, you can help keep your heart healthy.
One of the first steps towards a healthy heart is to get regular checkups and learn about common risks. A heart health check will allow you to know your risk of developing a heart attack or stroke in the next five years, and improve your heart’s overall condition. Your doctor will discuss with you some risk factors and then use a calculator to figure out your risk. This can be an extremely useful tool in improving your heart’s health and managing risk factors.
Besides these risk factors, you can also try reducing your risk of developing heart disease through a healthy lifestyle. Some people adopt these lifestyle changes naturally, while others develop heart problems after they start experiencing heart symptoms. Fortunately, most of these steps are very simple to adopt and are proven to be effective. These include watching your weight and quitting smoking. All of these changes can reduce your risk of developing heart disease and other related diseases. You can also make changes to your diet to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Keeping your blood pressure in check is very important. High blood pressure can lead to a heart attack if you don’t manage it properly. Try to avoid stressful situations, get enough sleep, and find some quiet time. Try to take time out every day for 15 minutes of quiet reflection. Quitting smoking is another way to manage your blood pressure. Even secondhand smoke can harm your heart. Avoid smoking whenever possible and follow all directions on your prescription medications.
If you’ve already been diagnosed with heart disease, it’s time to start getting more active. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, we should aim for 150 minutes of physical activity a week. This means getting out and walking for at least half an hour each day. The key is to find activities you enjoy and make them a habit. Don’t forget that sitting for hours on end can cause heart failure. You can delay, reverse, and manage the symptoms of heart disease by following a healthy lifestyle.
A healthy diet should consist of whole grains, nuts, and low-fat dairy. Red meat should be limited. Limit sugary drinks and red meat. Eating a balanced diet is a great way to manage your cholesterol. Exercise also helps lower blood pressure. Get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night and make sure you have an adequate amount of water in your body. Keeping your blood pressure under control is an essential part of good heart health.