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HEART HEALTH IS A CONDITION WE ALL STRIVE TO ACHIEVE
SO HOW DO WE DO THIS?
Heart disease refers to a range of conditions that affect your heart in a negative way. The term "heart disease" is often used interchangeably with the term "cardiovascular disease." Cardiovascular disease generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke. Other heart conditions, such as those that affect your heart's muscle, valves or rhythm and congenital heart defects, also are considered forms of heart disease.
Many forms of heart disease can be prevented or treated with healthy lifestyle choices. So, you do have control!
What should you do?
There are a number of things that you can do to help build and maintain a "healthy heart." One of the first things you need to do is to be conscious of the importance of taking care of your body. The heart is the organ that starts and runs our body much like the motor of an automobile. It is vital to our health. A number of suggestions to achieve heart health follow:
- Annual Physical Exam - Knowing the condition of your heart and what your base numbers are is very important and actually should be the starting point at an early age to build and maintain heart health. You are at an increased risk of heart disease if you have a family history -- meaning if you have a close relative who had heart disease before the age of 55 (male) or 65 (female). Blood pressure and cholesterol levels are two of the most important gauges to check. Your doctor and qualified nurse practitioner can give you a good assessment. Follow their instructions and do not take medications that are not prescribed by these professionals.
- Exercise/Weight Control - Excess weight can put you at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. Research suggests 30 - 45 minutes of cardio exercises 6 times a week. In addition, strength training to build muscle and reduce body fat is also recommended.
- Reduce Stress - Relax your nervous system with relaxation exercises such as yoga, meditation, pilates, dance, walking, etc.
- Sleep - 8 hours of sleep is perfect for an adult. Both the lack of sleep and too much sleep places you at a greater risk of developing heart disease.
- Good Dental Hygiene - Something as simple as brushing your teeth and gums a couple of times each day is helpful. Periodontal disease is linked to a higher rate of cardiovascular disease.
- Laughter - Laughing is good for your overall mental and physical health.
- Stay Informed about Heart Health - New medical discoveries are made almost every day. Keep up to date on what is new and on the horizon for a healthier heart. It is important to know what can help you today and into the future!
Diet and Nutrition - There are an endless number of " Do's and Don'ts" under this category. Let me give you a few of the dominant factors for consideration:
- Take a multivitamin daily
- Eat lots of wholegrain cereals
- Minimize trans and saturated fats such as cheese, processed food, carbohydrates and sugar
- Fresh vegetables and fruits are always the best choice
- Omega 3 fatty acids like fish, flaxseeds, almonds and walnuts are good for your heart
- Drink at least 8 glasses of fresh water each day
- Antioxidant rich foods which include fruits and vegetables, dark chocolate and red wine help to keep your heart healthy
- Anti-inflammatory herbs and spices such as curcumin and ginger (food supplements) also work in the same way as anti-inflammatory drugs but are healthier for you
- Foods that contain protein are important to eat daily
- Reduce your intake of sodas and energy drinks
- Consume alcoholic beverages in moderation
- Do not smoke cigarettes and other tobacco products (no vaping, no marijuana, etc.) Studies show that people who smoke are at a 50% higher risk of suffering a heart attack
- Stay away from fad diets that promise fast, extraordinary weight loss
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