When certain illnesses or medical conditions run in the family, your risk of either being born with or developing that condition increases. While rare, conditions that are caused by genetic mutations require immediate medical attention and often necessitate lifelong monitoring by a cardiologist or other specialist. On the other hand, the risk of developing heart disease that is brought on by lifestyle and habits can be reduced – even eliminated – by making smart choices that affect both you and your family. If heart disease “runs in your family” and you think it may have to do with habits or lifestyle, here are some ways to avoid it.
How’s your diet?
A diet heavy in saturated or trans fats is extremely damaging to your heart. Rather than fried, processed or fatty foods, stock up on foods that are low in fat and preservatives and high in fiber. Fresh fruits, whole grains and veggies are wonderful for your heart; look for delicious alternatives to high-fat foods such as low-fat yogurt and oat milk and opt for lean meats and whole grains.
Do you smoke?
Smoking is one of the riskiest behaviors you can do when it comes to maintaining a healthy heart. If you smoke or use tobacco products, stop. And certainly, if you don’t smoke, don’t start.
Do you need to lose weight?
Carrying around extra weight not only wreaks havoc on your joints, it adds stress to your heart. Working to achieve – and then maintaining – a healthy weight can add years to your overall heart health.
Are you exercising?
Stay physically active by exercising at least three to five days a week for a half hour will ensure the heart muscle stays strong and will help you maintain a healthy weight. Don’t have that much time? Make a habit of taking the stairs, walking your dog, and making face to face contact at work vs. emailing.
Do you get regular check-ups?
Regularly scheduled check-ups provide a good indicator of whether or not you are at risk for developing heart disease. Working to control cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as chronic conditions like diabetes, are important not only for your overall health, but your heart health as well.
Know your family history
Has a close relative had a heart attack or been diagnosed with heart disease? Heart disease may run in your family, but ask yourself why that may be. Is your family sedentary? Smokers? Did they perform a job that put their heart heath at risk? Or is there a certain health condition that runs in your family despite lifestyle and habit? If you tell your doctor heart disease runs in your family, be prepared to answer these and other questions about your family’s habits and lifestyle. Depending on your answers, you may not be at risk at all; or it may be a good time to re-evaluate your lifestyle and seek the care of a medical professional.
Pursuing Heart Health in Florida with Intercoastal Medical Group
Whether heart disease runs in your family or not, the doctors at Intercoastal Medical Group can help. Our interdisciplinary team of primary care providers and specialists will work with you to ensure you achieve a clean bill of health. Regarding cardiovascular care, our team of board-certified cardiologists are experts in treating vascular and cardiac disease, and offer prevention, disease management and interventional cardiology. Looking to maintain your weight and diet? Our family practice and internal medicine doctors will help you and your family devise a health and wellness plan so you won’t have to say that heart disease “runs in the family.” With locations throughout Sarasota and Manatee County, we offer more than 95 providers to address your specific healthcare needs. Take heart and request an appointment online today.