Managing your health is a team effort. And that’s also true for keeping your heart healthy.
Connecting with a primary care provider and seeing them each year is the best way to keep your heart healthy. Your PCP can diagnose and treat blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes before any symptoms and complications occur.
Learn about your family history. Find out if any first-degree relatives have heart disease and if anyone in the family has had a heart attack before age 45.
Quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke. This will also reduce inflammation that leads to not only heart disease, but also stroke, lung disease and multiple types of cancer. We offer smoking cessation programs across our ministry.
A history of breastfeeding can reduce women’s risk of heart disease, as it provides a long-term cardioprotective effect. In a study of women who had given birth, those who had breastfed were less likely to have heart disease.
The American Heart Association provides a wealth of information on basic nutrition, heart-healthy recipes and exercise videos that can help make healthy lifestyle changes easier and more achievable.
- Moderate aerobic exercise at least 30 minutes five times a week. Start with shorter increments and build your way up. Add some strength training two days a week to boost your metabolism.
- Make sure your diet includes whole grains, a variety of fruits and vegetables, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, and lean meats or other protein sources. Avoid saturated or trans fats, added sugars and high amounts of salt.
- Cut back on alcohol intake if you drink more than one drink per day.
- Work on stress reduction and time management. Reach out for help when you feel overwhelmed.