It’s February, which means it is time to celebrate your heart! February is a time when the whole nation focuses on cardiovascular diseases, which are the No. 1 killer of Americans. Cardiovascular diseases (heart and blood vessel diseases) are the leading cause of death in the United States in both men and women, which is why the prevention of heart disease should be on your top priority list.
Below are recommendations from a cardiologist on how you can keep your heart healthy.
Understand Your Risks
Understanding your risk for heart disease is the first step to keeping your heart healthy and living longer. Many factors affect your risk for heart disease. Some of these factors are modifiable, while others are not. Your risk factors are the conditions or habits that increase your likelihood of developing a disease. Your age, sex, and family history of heart disease are a few factors that cannot be changed. Other factors, such as a sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cholesterol, can be modified. For example, eating healthy and being physically active can improve your heart health.
Tame Your Stress
Stressful situations happen, and you can’t always avoid or prevent them, but changing your stress response will help you feel better and protect your heart. When you are stressed, your heart rate increases, and your blood vessels become narrow, which is not beneficial for your overall health, especially if stress stays for a long time. People tend to cope with stress by drinking alcohol, overeating, smoking, and abusing substances —which are not healthy ways to tame stress.
Your heart doctor will advise you to consider stress-reducing activities such as practicing meditation, participating in stress management programs, trying relaxation techniques, and talking with family and friends.
Get Physically Active
Whether you are healthy or have heart disease, cardiologists recommend getting more active. Staying active lowers the risk of early death compared to living a sedentary lifestyle. For adults, cardiologists recommend that you be involved in one of the following activities each week:
- Moderate-intensity aerobic activities for 2 hours and 30 minutes
- Vigorous-intensity aerobic activities for 1 hour and 15 minutes
- A combination of both moderate and vigorous-intensity activities
Aerobic activities include running, brisk walking, swimming, and biking. These activities make your heart beat faster and use more oxygen, which is greatly beneficial for your health.
Choose Heart-Healthy Foods
A diet high in saturated and trans fats can form plaque in your arteries, resulting in atherosclerosis, which can lead to a heart attack. Your cardiologist will recommend limiting salt, processed sugars, and fried foods. Avoiding fried foods can also provide relief from digestive issues like heartburn. Your heart doctor will recommend a heart-healthy diet that also lowers your blood pressure and LDL cholesterol level. You can add lean meat, fish, fruits, leafy green vegetables, healthy nuts, and high-fiber oatmeal to your heart-healthy diet.
Quit Smoking And Get Enough Sleep
Smoking increases your risk for heart disease, including a heart attack. The chemical in smoke impairs the body’s ability to deliver oxygenated blood to your heart, resulting in cardiovascular disease. Your cardiologist will also recommend avoiding secondhand smoke.
Getting less than seven hours of sleep each night increases your risk for asthma, depression, and heart attack. Heart doctors recommend getting enough sleep to have a healthy heart and to live longer.
Experienced Cardiologists In Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch, Florida
Regular health screenings can help prevent heart disease and help you live longer. At Intercoastal Medical Group, our cardiologists are the perfect medical experts to help you stay heart-healthy. Our cardiologists have a wealth of experience treating all forms of cardiovascular problems and would love to discuss your heart health with you.
To make an appointment with our cardiologists, call us at (941) 366-1888 for our Beneva Cardiology location, (941) 379-1850 for our Cattleridge Medical Building location, and (941) 538-0088 for our Lakewood Ranch II location, or request an appointment online.