Heart health – it’s a topic you hear about fairly often, but only because it’s crucial to a healthy life. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States (yes, above cancer) – and causes 1 in 4 deaths each year. You’re at a higher risk for heart disease if you are overweight, eat a poor diet, drink too much, don’t exercise enough or have diabetes. But even still – there are many risk factors that are not under your control (aka, genetic), so it’s important that everyone take steps to keep their hearts healthy.
It’s easy to think of heart health as something only an older parent or relative needs to keep in mind, but Dr. Benjamin Wessler, a cardiologist at Tufts Medical Center, says “It is never too early to start thinking about your cardiovascular health. I routinely recommend aggressively addressing modifiable cardiovascular risk factors such as excess weight, inactivity, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure. By targeting these risk factor early on, patients can minimize the chances of suffering a stroke or heart attack.” Plus, you can prevent up to 80% of cardiovascular events with simple lifestyle changes, so there’s really no excuse not to start.
That being said, if you’re late to the game, there’s no reason to throw in the towel. Implementing these healthy habits can help reduce your risk of heart disease, no matter your age. If you’re worried about your heart health, the best place to start is your primary care doctor, who will assess if you should see a specialist.
Dr. Wessler advises, “As we age, the odds of experiencing a cardiac event increase. But, even before the development of symptoms, lifestyle and medication interventions can improve heart health. If and when symptoms develop, lifesaving testing and treatments are widely available.”
The takeaway? No matter your current health, there are things to improve your heart health. Here are 5 Practical Ways To Keep Your Heart Healthy!
Get moving! Try to be physically active every day! Whether you hit the gym or go for a 30 minute walk around the neighborhood, it’s important to get your heart pumping and your body moving! Elevating your heart rate for 20 to 30 minutes, three to five times each week will help you boost your metabolism, lose weight, lower your cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and improve your heart function.
Catch some zzz’s! Your body needs down time to restore itself! The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults ages 26-64 get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. People who don’t sleep enough are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease—regardless of age, weight, smoking and exercise habits! So hit the hay! (Have trouble sleeping? Good sleep hygiene is crucial for quality sleep.)
Remember to breathe! Studies have proven that breathing slowing and deeply for 10 minutes a day can help you relax, clear your mind, relieve stress and may even lower your blood pressure!
Eat a rainbow! When it comes to eating fruits and vegetables, the more colorful the better. High in vitamins, minerals and fiber and low in fat and calories, eating a variety of fruits and vegetables may help you control your weight and your blood pressure. For a full list of colorful fruits and vegetable suggestions and ideas, visit here.
Mindful drinking! Too much of anything is never a good thing. When it comes to the health of your heart, moderation is key! The American Heart Association recommends no more than one drink for a woman, or two drinks for a man per day. Drinking too much can increase your chances of high blood pressure, weight gain and stroke. So be mindful when you’re out to dinner or brunch and stick with just one.
The CardioVascular Center (CVC) at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, MA regularly treats cardiac patients from across the country and around the globe. We were named one of the nation’s top 50 cardiovascular hospitals and recognized as a “Blue Distinction Center for Cardiac Care.” Our collaborative approach and commitment to bringing together the perfect combination of specialists to treat any heart condition provides patients with access to leading doctors in Cardiology, Cardiac Surgery, Vascular Surgery, interventional Radiology and Anesthesiology.
Interested in learning more about why doctors and patients prefer the CardioVascular Center at Tufts Medical Center? Visit our website.
Disclaimer: The content provided in this post is intended solely for the information of the reader. This information is not medical advice and should not replace a consultation with a medical professional.