Heart health is a serious thing. Each year, half a million people in the U.S. die from heart disease or heart attack. As you get older, you may develop unhealthy habits that can contribute to heart problems and increase your risk of disease.
In order to reduce your risk of heart disease, there are steps you can take and habits you can adopt that will help you move forward healthily.
1. General Health
In your day-to-day life, do you have healthy routines or lazy routines? You may not realize it, but in the long run the “fun” or “cool” or even “thrilling” thing to do can ultimately bring you harm.
- Don’t Smoke or Use Tobacco.
- Cigarettes – When you smoke cigarettes, you inhale carbon monoxide, which replaces the oxygen in your blood. This is dangerous because it causes the heart to work harder – pumping blood faster to supply the oxygen your body needs. It also can lead to increased blood pressure and heart rate.
- Tobacco – Tobacco use is dangerous because the chemicals in the substance cause a condition called atherosclerosis, which is the narrowing of the arteries. This damages the heart and blood vessels, and it puts you at greater risk of heart attack.
- No exceptions – Even low-nicotine cigarettes or smokeless tobacco increase the risk of heart disease. The more you smoke, the greater the risk – and as soon as you quit that risk starts to drop.
- Exercise. It is best to exercise from 30-60 minutes every day. This does not mean a halfhearted walk around the track. The best results come from intense workouts for short amounts of time. Not only will the physical activity benefit you, but it will also help you maintain a healthy weight, and it reduces your chances of getting high blood pressure, high cholesterol and (in some cases) diabetes.
- Sleep. Believe it or not, getting enough sleep actually reduces your risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes and even depression. A good amount of sleep for the average adult is 7-9 hours. If you aren’t getting that much and find getting out of bed nearly impossible in the morning, you need to get more sleep! Make it a priority. Talk to your doctor if you are still constantly sleepy; you might need to get tested for sleep apnea.
- Regular Checkups and Screenings. The best way to know that you have a serious health condition is to get tested for it. Make sure you have a good routine of going to your doctor and present them with your concerns.
2. Heart-Healthy Foods
There is a variety of foods that can be harmful to your health and increase your chances of heart disease or another heart condition. Check out this infographic on heart healthy foods:
If you suffer from a heart disease, or are at risk to, try taking some of our advice above. Think about your daily routines and what you could change to positively influence your health.
What are some things you do to keep your heart healthy?