Easy Heart Disease Prevention Tips
Cardiovascular disease is the second leading cause of death in the U.S., but the good news is that an estimated 80% of all these cases (heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, and stroke) can be prevented. While some risk factors are unavoidable – such as age, gender, and family history – there are several lifestyle changes you can make to improve your heart health. Following these heart disease prevention tips can greatly lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.
7 Easy Heart Disease Prevention Tips
- Quit smoking – The most important heart disease prevention tip is to stop smoking or using smokeless tobacco. Smoking is a leading risk factor for coronary heart disease, stroke, and heart attack. The chemicals in tobacco damage your heart and blood vessels and harden your arteries. Cigarette smoke reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood, which raises your blood pressure and makes your heart work harder to supply enough oxygen to your brain and body. The good news, however, is that quitting smoking reduces your risk of heart disease in as little as a day. Your blood pressure decreases, your oxygen supply increases, and your circulation improves. Within a year, your risk of heart disease drops to about half that of a smoker. And no matter how long or how much you’ve smoked, you’ll start seeing improvement as soon as you quit.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet – Maintaining a good diet is essential for heart health, especially if you have a family history of heart disease. You should also avoid or limit foods that worsen heart disease, including: salt, carbohydrates, alcohol, and sugar.
Your diet should focus on:
- Fruits and veggies
- Beans and other legumes
- Lean meat and fish
- Healthy fats
- Exercise – Regular, daily physical activity is key to heart disease prevention. Exercise improves circulation, strengthens the heart muscle, helps you control your weight, and reduces your risk for developing conditions that put strain on the heart (such as high blood pressure and diabetes). The CDC recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five times a week. This includes activities such as bicycling, brisk walking, and even mowing the lawn and vacuuming. The key is to be active and moving as much as possible.
- Lose weight – Carrying extra weight – especially around the middle – increases your risk of developing heart disease. But losing just 5%-10% of your body weight can help lower your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. If you are overweight, talk to your doctor about a personalized diet and exercise plan to help you reach your weight loss goals.
- Lower your blood pressure – High blood pressure (hypertension) increases the stress on your cardiovascular system and contributes to heart disease. You can help lower your blood pressure by limiting salt intake and alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, exercising, and avoiding stress.
- Manage stress – Stress, especially chronic stress, wreaks havoc on the body and puts extra strain on the heart. Some people also have unhealthy coping mechanisms that negatively affect their heart health, such as overeating, drinking and smoking. Reducing your stress in healthy ways – physical activity, meditation, yoga, art – will help improve your health.
- Get quality sleep – Adults need a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night. Insufficient sleep causes elevated blood pressure, higher blood sugar, increased stress levels, and a weakened immune system. Make sleep a priority by developing healthy sleep habits, such as going to bed at the same time every night and not using electronics for an hour before bed.
Improve Your Heart Health with Anchor Wellness Center
For more heart disease prevention tips, call our office today at (832) 246-8437 and schedule a consultation with Dr. Minni Malhotra, MD, FAARM, ABAARM. As a Board Certified physician in Family Medicine as well as Board Certified with the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine, Dr. Malhotra can evaluate your heart health and provide your with a personalized plan to lower your risk of heart disease.