According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease kills roughly 610,000 people in the United States annually, which amount to 1 in every 4 deaths. High blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, but it can be hard to detect, showing minimal signs or symptoms. If people take control of their heart health and make better health and wellness decisions, as well as lifestyle choices, they can keep heart disease at bay. For this American Heart Month, here are a few hearth health management tips that you can apply to your life.
Cultivate Heart Healthy Habits
Heart disease can be prevented if you choose to make healthy lifestyle choices a part of your daily life. A healthy lifestyle requires eating a healthy, balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, abstaining from smoking, and limiting alcohol consumption.
- Healthy Diet: A healthy diet should include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and foods that are packed with the necessary nutrients to fuel the body. Limit alcohol, processed foods, and foods containing bad cholesterol, simple sugars, and sodium. Be sure to include foods high in fiber as well. A healthy diet helps to prevent high cholesterol, lowers blood pressure and blood sugar level to heart disease and its complications.
- Healthy Weight and Physical Activity: The risk of heart disease increases when an individual is overweight or obese. It is helpful to know your body mass index (BMI) and waist measurements. If you need to lose weight, change your eating habits and incorporate more physical activity in your daily routine. At least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity exercise, like brisk walking, swimming or bicycling, 3 days a week is good for the heart.
- Avoid Smoking: Cigarette smoking is a significant risk factor for heart disease. Abstain from smoking, or quit if you are a smoker.
Keep Risk Factors in Check With Management and Medication
In the event that you have risk factors for heart disease like, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes, it’s important to take all medications as they are prescribed by your physician.
- Check your cholesterol level at least once every 5 years; however, if you struggle with high cholesterol or have a hereditary predisposition to the condition, check your cholesterol more frequently.
- Be sure to control your blood pressure/hypertension, measuring it on a regular basis and taking your prescription medication when necessary.
- If you are diabetic, cautiously monitor your blood sugar levels, follow your treatment plan and make specific lifestyle changes to help keep your blood sugar at optimal levels.
Heart health is important, and this American Heart Month, you are reminded of how you can be the best caretaker of your heart. It is important to cultivate heart-healthy habits into your daily life to protect your heart. It is also important to keep risk factors at bay with preventative and maintenance measures. Your heart will thank you for it.