Heart disease prevention: Best Strategies
Over the years, heart disease has become a real problem for many people. You can’t change certain risk factors like your age, race, gender, or genes but you can live a healthy lifestyle which is one of the best ways to prevent heart disease.
Lifestyle Changes for Heart Attack Prevention
Living a healthy lifestyle requires a little work and discipline but it’s well worth it in the long run. Here are ways changes you can start making to reduce your chances of heart disease:
1. Check your cholesterol levels
Your body needs cholesterol to help it digest fats, make hormones, and protect nerves.
However, too much bad cholesterol (LDL) can clog your arteries which automatically increases your chances for heart attacks and strokes.
On the other hand, low levels of good cholesterol (HDL) are not good because HDL helps get rid of excess cholesterol. Ask your physician how often you should check your blood pressure.
2. Maintain your blood pressure
There’s a good chance that you will develop high blood pressure if it runs in your family. You probably won’t notice it though because many adults are unaware that they have high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is known as a “silent killer” because it doesn’t have any symptoms. If it’s not treated properly, then it puts a strain on your heart and arteries. Depending on your level of risk, your doctor can determine how often you should have your blood pressure checked.
3. Know your blood sugar levels
High blood sugar levels increase your chances of developing diabetes at some point. In addition to this, most adult diabetics die from some type of heart disease, If you are a diabetic, then you must control your illness.
There is a good chance that the illness will lead to future heart problems. If you have a family history of diabetes. You may want to get your blood sugar levels checked more often than someone that doesn’t have a family history.
4. Eat a heart-healthy diet
This is probably one of the hardest changes to make because most people have become accustomed to eating certain types of food that they enjoy. Fatty foods generally taste good, but they are not good for your long term health.
High fat and high cholesterol diet cause plague to build up in your arteries. It can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Try to limit your consumption of saturated and trans fat. Stay away from high cholesterol foods like meat, eggs, butter, and cheese. Replace those unhealthy foods with fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.
Eating fish like salmon, trout, and tuna a couple of times a week. It can reduce your heart disease. The omega-3 fatty acids found in these fish may protect against irregular heartbeats and also lower blood pressure. If you don’t like eating fish, then try flaxseed, walnuts, soybeans, or fish-oil supplements.
Too much salt in your diet dramatically increases your chance of high blood pressure. To decrease your salt intake, try switching from regular table salt to salt substitutes or herbs/spices. Processed foods like frozen dinners and canned soups are also high in salt so try to limit your consumption of these foods.
5. Get off the couch
You’ve always known that exercise is good for you, but it may not be part of your life. Frequent exercise helps you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
It also lowers cholesterol levels and blood pressure. If you’re overweight, your heart has to work harder and the extra fat can lead to future heart problems.
A general rule of thumb is to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a few times a week to maintain overall good health.
6. Don’t smoke
It’s been proven that smokers are almost three times more likely to have heart attacks than nonsmokers.
Smokers are at higher risk because nicotine and other chemicals in tobacco increase your heart rate and blood pressure while causing your arteries to narrow and harden.
People around you aren’t safe either. Every year, many people die due to exposure to secondhand smoke. It can be very challenging to stop smoking, but it’s possible.
7. Limit your alcohol intake
A small amount of alcohol every day can be good for your heart. Depending on your age, you may want to ask your doctor what amount would be beneficial for you. Excessive amounts of alcohol can raise blood pressure and that will eventually lead to other problems. If you do choose to drink alcohol in small amounts then red wine is a good choice because it is high in antioxidants that protect heart cells from damage.
8. Manage your stress levels
Stress puts extra pressure on your heart by speeding up your heart rate and elevating your blood pressure. You’re also more likely to make poor health choices like smoking cigarettes and drinking excessive alcohol when you are stressed out. Good sleep habits, exercise, and relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation are great ways to reduce your stress.
All of these changes will not happen in one day so it’s best to choose a couple of them and gradually make other changes as time goes by. Once you discover how these changes drastically improve your quality of life, you will be a lot more motivated to maintain a healthy lifestyle.