Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, taking the lives of 2,200 people every day. Additionally, over 100 million adults have high blood pressure, and 6.5 million live with heart failure. While genetic factors play a role in cardiovascular disease, the good news is that 80% of heart disease cases can be prevented with education and action.
By making simple lifestyle changes, you can reduce your risk of developing heart disease and improve your overall health. Here are ten tips to show your heart some love:
1. Stop smoking:
Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your heart and overall health. Smoking is the most preventable cause of premature death in the United States, and smokers have a higher risk of developing many chronic disorders, including atherosclerosis. There are many resources available to help you quit.
2. Know your numbers:
Maintaining a healthy weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels are key to a healthy heart. Your physician can help determine an appropriate goal weight based on factors such as age and height.
3. Screen for diabetes:
Diabetes can lead to heart disease and other complications. A simple blood test can detect diabetes, and it can be managed under the care of a physician.
Regular physical activity can prevent cardiovascular disease and improve your overall physical and mental health. The American Heart Association recommends five 30-minute moderate exercise sessions each week. You can break these up into smaller segments throughout the day.
5. Build some muscle:
Strength training compliments cardiovascular exercise by toning muscles and burning fat. It can also improve daily functional movements, decreasing the chance of injury. The American Heart Association recommends two days of moderate to high-intensity strength training each week.
6. Eat smart:
A healthy diet full of heart-healthy foods is essential to a healthy lifestyle. Foods such as salmon, nuts, berries, and oats may help reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.
7. Limit junk:
To reap the full benefits of a heart-healthy diet, it's essential to limit intake of nutrient-poor junk foods. Added sugars, saturated fat, and excessive sodium can negatively impact heart health.
8. Stress less:
Stress can lead to weight gain, a key risk factor for heart disease, and other unhealthy habits. Practicing positive self-talk, incorporating mindfulness meditation breaks throughout the day, and other lifestyle changes can help reduce stress.
9. Sleep more:
Sleep helps restore the body, decrease stress, and increase overall happiness. Aim for seven hours of sleep each night, and establish healthy sleep patterns by maintaining a consistent bedtime routine.
Enjoyable activities and hobbies can relieve stress and improve your overall mood, providing a great foundation for a heart-healthy lifestyle.
By implementing these ten tips, you can show your heart some love and reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Remember, small lifestyle changes can make a big impact when it comes to heart health.