February 28, 2019
February is American Heart Month, and Health Care Associates of Texas provides its patients with a highly-trained cardiology team devoted to helping you understand the best methods for heart disease prevention.
In the United States, heart disease contributes to 1 in 4 deaths. Family history, gender, and age are a few of the non-modifiable risk factors of heart disease that cannot be changed. However, there are many steps you can take to achieve a healthier lifestyle and reduce your risk for this deadly disease.
Continue reading and discover the 7 top ways to reduce your risk for heart disease.
1. Eat Heart-Healthy Foods
Fresh fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and packed with nutrients that boost your immunity. Salmon, tuna, and other fatty fish are also heart-healthy foods that reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides. Eat more plant-based foods, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Avoid sugary drinks, processed meats like sausage and hot dogs, and refined carbohydrates like white bread. These foods are high in fat and sodium and found to contribute to risk factors of heart disease.
2. Exercise Regularly
Staying active offers countless benefits for heart disease prevention. Exercise boosts your circulation and strengthens your heart — especially cardio exercises like walking, running, and swimming. Exercise also lowers your blood pressure and cholesterol and helps you maintain a healthy weight. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week to avoid heart disease.
3. Stop Smoking
Smoking cigarettes can narrow and damage the blood vessels which can increase your blood pressure. This puts you at higher risk for events like heart attack and stroke. The best tip is don’t start smoking cigarettes and get help to quit smoking if you’re currently a smoker. Nicotine is an addictive substance, but you can quit smoking with cessation treatments such as therapy and medications.
4. Reduce Alcohol Intake
Drinking high amounts of alcohol over a long time or drinking too much on a single occasion can worsen heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure. Alcohol intake is also closely linked to weight gain and obesity. Stop drinking alcohol or practice low-risk drinking to reduce your heart disease risk. Low-risk drinking is considered no more than 3 drinks per day or 7 drinks per week for women, and no more than 4 drinks per day or 14 drinks per week for men.
5. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Eating healthy foods, staying active, and getting plenty of sleep will work together in helping you maintain a healthy weight. Excess body fat puts a strain on your heart because it forces it to work harder at pumping blood throughout your entire body. Excess body fat also increases blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, and the risk for type 2 diabetes — all of which are risk factors of heart disease. If you need help maintaining a healthy weight, talk to your internal medicine doctor about developing a healthy diet and exercise regime.
6. Manage Your Blood Pressure
Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure affects 1 in every 3 U.S. adults and is the most common heart disease risk factor. Aside from exercising, eating healthy foods, and maintaining a healthy weight, things you can do to manage your blood pressure naturally include reducing salt intake, managing stress, and getting enough sleep. Get your blood pressure checked by a cardiologist at least once per year so you can maintain and prevent high blood pressure.
7. Control Your Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Cholesterol helps your organs function properly and is necessary to produce hormones and vitamin D; however, high amounts of “bad” LDL cholesterol can build up and clog your arteries, increasing the risk for heart disease and cardiac events like heart attack and stroke. Lifestyle factors that contribute to high cholesterol include lack of exercise, poor nutrition, and obesity. Triglycerides are a type of fat in your blood that can also increase your heart disease risk. Work with a heart doctor to control your cholesterol and triglycerides to ward off symptoms of heart disease.
At Healthcare Associates of Texas, we understand the ins and outs of heart health and are devoted to helping you prevent heart disease and reduce your risk. Our cardiology team and primary care physicians will work with you one-on-one to ensure you receive the highest quality personalized care and treatment. Schedule an appointment or call us today at (972) 258-7499.
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