Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease. According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death among both men and women. It is also reported that about half of Americans (47% ) have at least one of these three risk factors – high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking for heart disease. Adopting a healthy lifestyle can reduce heart diseases to a great extent.
Here are 7 ways to keep your heart healthy:
- Exercise regularly and stay active – Regular physical activities can reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels and help prevent heart disease. Make sure that you exercise at least 30 minutes each day, five days a week. Also try strength training exercises on two or more days a week. Activities such as gardening, housekeeping, taking the stairs, and walking the dog can also keep your active and stay fit.
- Keep blood pressure levels in check – High blood pressure (BP) is dangerous and referred to as a “silent killer”. If you fail to monitor and control your BP, the condition will damage your blood vessels and increase your risk for heart attack, stroke, and other serious conditions. Stressful emotions can add pressure to your heart. Instead of smoking or drinking to avoid stress, consider relaxation exercises or meditation.
- Maintain a healthy weight – Being overweight increases your risk of heart disease. Calculate your body mass index (BMI) and take steps to reduce weight. Ask your doctor what your weight should be and how to get there. Exercise and a good diet can help you reach your ideal weight.
- Follow a healthy diet – Eating a healthy diet can help prevent cardiovascular diseases. Add plenty of fruits and veggies, grains, and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. Make sure to include nutrient-rich foods — which have vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients but are lower in calories. Reduce intake of salt, saturated fats, sweets, and red meats.
- Control cholesterol and diabetes – Get regular health screenings to check your cholesterol and diabetes levels. Since Type 2 diabetes as well as high cholesterol levels are risk factors for heart disease, monitor them to lower the risk of heart disease. While LDL cholesterol is bad for the heart, HDL can protect you from heart disease. Work with your doctor to control your blood sugar levels.
- Stop smoking – Smoking or using tobacco by any means is a significant risk factor for developing heart disease. Chemicals in tobacco can damage your heart and blood vessels, leading to further consequences. Take care to avoid secondhand smoke and e-cigarettes. Try established smoking cessation options such as nicotine replacement patches, gums or smoking cessation medications.
- Get enough sleep – Lack of sleep can harm your health. Getting quality sleep reduces adrenaline and cortisol levels and reduces risk of heart disease. Make sure get at least seven hours sleep a night. Schedule a time to go to bed and to wake up and follow these timings. This will help your heart stay healthy and keeps you fresh throughout the day.