In America heart disease prevention is often at the forefront of our minds, as one life in our country is lost to this condition approximately every 37 seconds. In this post, we’ll discuss heart health, reveal exactly what qualifies as heart disease and list 5 ways to prevent it.
About Heart Health
To keep us alive, our hearts endure a never-ending workload of pumping blood through our bodies, carrying oxygen, cells, hormones, fuel and other compounds to maintain good health. They also remove the waste products of metabolism.
Though our hearts are vulnerable to disease due to lack of physical activity, diet, smoking and genetic factors, with education and lifestyle management, there are ways to prevent problems from developing.
About Heart Disease
Many only think of heart disease in relation to heart attack prevention, but there are so many complexities to it. As the leading cause of death in our country, the risks for developing heart disease are real, even more so for those who have it in their family history.
Heart disease includes Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), which consists of narrow or blocked arteries; Arrhythmias, which are rhythm irregularities that cause hearts to sometimes skip a beat; and Congenital Heart Disease, which is a structural defect of the heart that is present at birth.
5 Ways to Prevent Heart Disease
Luckily, doctors know the types of things we can do to protect ourselves from heart disease. Read on for the top five ways to prevent it and maintain optimal heart health.
1. Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet
It may seem like a no-brainer, but modifying your diet to include foods rich in fiber (such as whole grains), fruits and vegetables, oily fish, nuts, legumes and seeds will increase your chances of remaining free of heart disease. You’ll also want to shy away from foods high in sodium and those that contain trans fats. In addition, be mindful of the amount of sugar-filled drinks you consume and limit the amount of meat in your diet.
2. Exercise Regularly
Even if you maintain a healthy weight, physical activity is vital to achieve good heart health. Choose exercises that you enjoy so you’ll stick to them and commit to a regular schedule of movement. If you’re unsure how much time you should spend and the various levels of intensity, the American Heart Association Provides a convenient article with guidelines to assist you.
3. Limit and Manage Stress
It may seem easier said than done, but research shows that those who manage their stress well have a greater chance of avoiding heart disease. Whether you’re overeating or smoking or functioning in a state of high anxiety, all of these results of stress can increase your blood pressure, which can be very dangerous. Explore breathing techniques, meditation, exercise, fresh air and mindful activities to reduce stress, and seek help from a professional if you need additional advice or if those methods don’t work for your lifestyle.
4. Monitor Cholesterol
Too much ‘bad’ cholesterol can block your arteries, so it’s important that you know your cholesterol numbers and test regularly to make sure they remain at satisfactory levels. If you’ve been diagnosed with high cholesterol, consult your doctor for the best ways to reduce it. Usually lifestyle changes can make a huge impact, but in more severe cases, medication may be prescribed to keep it safely under control.
5. Avoid Smoking
Smoking raises triglycerides in your blood and lowers ‘good’ cholesterol. It also damages the cells that line the blood vessels, increases the buildup of plaque within the arteries and makes blood more likely to clot, which can prevent blood flow to the heart and brain. All of these factors can increase your risk of heart disease. For these reasons, if you currently smoke you should make every effort to stop and if you haven’t started, you shouldn’t begin.
Consult a Medical Professional
The Cardiology team at Western Washington Medical Group has provided excellent care in our community for nearly four decades. Made up of eight academically trained cardiologists and three advanced practice clinicians, they are fully equipped to diagnose, treat and monitor vascular diseases and conditions. They can also serve patients in a variety of languages including English, Spanish, Hindi, Vietnamese, Telugu, and Tamil. To schedule an appointment with a member of this team, visit this page. For more general inquires, fill out the form on this page.