The heart is one of the most important organs in the human body. Unfortunately, some people don’t take care of it the way that they should, which is where heart diseases come into play. According to Dr. Eugenia Gianos, Director of Women’s Heart Health at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, 50% of heart disease is genetic. There are so many factors that go into cardiovascular health, but heart disease is preventable. Here are the steps you can take to ensure you will have a healthy heart and a healthy life!
- Reduce or stop smoking entirely. People who smoke are twice as likely to have a heart attack as opposed to those who don’t. The carbon dioxide found in tobacco decreases the amount of oxygen in your blood. Smoking also causes blood clots and increases your blood pressure. If you do smoke, try to cut down significantly. The earlier you stop smoking, the better.
- Exercise on a regular basis. Physical activity helps lower your blood pressure and being active improves blood flow. Try to incorporate physical activity into your daily or weekly routine, if you don’t work out already. Start slow – take a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day, 3-5 times a week, if possible.
- Monitor your weight. The more fat a person has in their midsection, the more at risk they are for heart disease. Instead of eating outside food, cook meals at home more often. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate – meals like whole-grain pasta with marinara sauce or grilled chicken breasts with vegetables on the side shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes to complete. Not only is it cheaper, but you have control over what ingredients are put in your food. However, if you don’t have time to cook, make smarter choices in the case that you do want to eat outside.
- Maintain your stress. Chronic, repeated stress triggers your body’s fight-or-flight mode and high blood pressure. Deep breathing, yoga, and even meditation can help manage this.
- Problems with sleep or lack of sleep can have a huge impact on your heart health. Things that may seem minor, like drinking alcohol or eating a big meal right before bed, can put you more at risk for heart disease. If you feel hungry before going to sleep, try to have a light snack to curb your cravings. Drinking alcohol before bed drastically affects the quality of your sleep. If you do want to drink, do it a few hours before so that it has time to get filtered out of your system through excretion and perspiration.
Heart disease prevention is solely based on what kind of lifestyle you are living. A report from the Centers for Disease Control revealed that heart disease killed around 415,000 Americans in 2016. It may be difficult at first, but you can start by making small changes one at a time. Taking a few simple steps will have a big impact on your heart and overall health.
Written by Dami Falade