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5 Proven Ways to Improve your heart health

Published by on June 19th, 2020.

Your heart creates the rhythm of your life beating between 60 and 100 times per minute – a total of up to 144,000 times a day! However, despite its fundamental importance, we often neglect to care for this miraculous life, sustaining organ. The harsh reality is that cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of Americans. The good news is that there are a number of steps you can take to improve your heart health. Take a few minutes to learn these 5 heart smart habits that’ll keep you running strong.

Below is a proven way to improve your heart health and maintaining a well functioning heart.



1. Manage your blood pressure.

High blood pressure increases your risk of heart attack because it can cause atherosclerosis, or the buildup of plaque in your arteries, which could eventually block blood flow.

High blood pressure doesn’t have outward warning signs. so have it checked at least every 2 years. One high reading is not a cause for alarm, but if your tests run consistently over 120/80, your doctor may want to check it more often.

If blood pressure does creep up, you can help lower it by reducing stress, eating healthy, exercising, minimizing sodium intake, and drinking less alcohol. Ask your doctor about efficiently managing your blood pressure, and what he or she recommends.

2. Manage cholesterol and triglycerides.

Every 4 to 6 years, ask your doctor run a fasting lipoprotein profile. This test will measure your levels of good cholesterol (HDL), bad cholesterol (LDL), and triglycerides (body fat).

According to the American Heart Association, “A high triglyceride level combined with low HDL cholesterol or high LDL cholesterol is associated with atherosclerosis.”

If your family has a history of heart disease, you may be genetically prone to high cholesterol and will need medication. But you can help manage it by avoiding foods high in saturated fat, such as beef, lamb, pork, butter, or whole milk.

Fortunately, you aren’t doomed to a bland, fat-free diet; polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats could actually improve your cholesterol. Add fish, olives, avocados, walnuts, and vegetable oils to your menu for a happier and stronger heart.

3. Keep a healthy weight.

Obesity strains the heart by increasing the amount of work required to pump blood through your body. Adipose tissue, commonly known as fat, also promotes plaque buildup around your arteries, increasing your risk. If your Body Mass Index (BMI) is 30 or higher, consider a program to help you lose the extra pounds.

Weight loss takes time and effort, but having a support group can help tremendously. Before you start any diet, check with the doctor for advice on how to lose weight safely and keep it off.

4. Exercise regularly.

Physical activity can significantly improve your heart’s health. Exercise can strengthen the heart muscle, keep weight under control, and reduce stress. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least 5 days per week.

It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you’re moving and keeping your heart rate above resting. If you hate Zumba or jogging, try ballroom dancing, a pickup basketball game, or swimming. Or grab your best friend for a brisk walk.

When you’re just beginning an exercise routine, however, take it slowly and work up. Check with your doctor for advice on how to get started safely.

5. Stop smoking.

Among its other disadvantages, smoking damages the interior surface of blood vessels, which in turn leads to atherosclerosis. However, no matter how long you’ve been smoking, it’s never too late to quit. According to the American Cancer Society, after just 20 minutes of quitting, your blood pressure will return to normal, after 3 months your lung function will increase, and after one year, your risk of heart disease decreases by half. If you still smoke, ask your doctor for help.

Know the signs of heart distress.

Whether you have high risk factors or not, everyone should know the early warning signs of a heart attack. Keep in mind that the signs can differ for men and women.

In men, typical signs include:

· Chest pain
· Headache or toothache
· Shortness of breath
· Vomiting
· Stomach ache
· Cold sweat
· Heartburn
· Arm pain
· Upper back pain
· General poor feeling

In women, typical signs include:

· Chest pain
· Headache, neck or jaw pain
· Arm pain
· Stomach ache
· Vomiting
· Shortness of breath
· Lightheadedness
· Cold sweat
· Fatigue

Women tend to have less “typical” symptoms than men. They’re more likely to feel shortness of breath, pressure in the abdomen, or lightheadedness with no accompanying chest pain.

Heart Health Is Important

The heart is an amazing part of our bodies that tends to go unnoticed until something goes terribly wrong. Don’t wait for something bad to happen, take the time to invest in your heart health today to ensure it continues to provide a strong rhythm for you throughout your life.

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