Heart disease is the number one cause of death for people in the United States and according to the CDC, one person dies every 34 seconds from some sort of cardiovascular issue. That’s an alarming statistic but one which can be mitigated through simple lifestyle habits.
We all know the measures one can take to reduce their risk of heart disease and have probably heard them at one point or another from our doctor but the information bears repeating.
- See your doctor annually. We all lead busy lives but taking the time to see your doctor for a check-up is well worth the time if it can avoid a lengthy hospital visit by helping to catch problems early. Heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol and other blood markers should be evaluated by your healthcare provider at least once a year to ensure that problems don’t exist, aren’t persisting or are improving.
- Dietary adjustments. Most Americans live in a state of abundance. Foods of all types are readily available and unfortunately, the foods which many people love, don’t necessarily love us back. High fat, high sodium and overly processed items are contributing factors to the increasing rates of heart disease. That’s not to say that these foods can never be enjoyed, but they should be eaten in moderation.
- Exercise and activity. Most Americans do not get enough activity in their day. And don’t let the fitness influencers of the world fool you. You do not have to take on hours long, strenuous and physically taxing workouts to realize cardiovascular benefits. For most people, adding a 30 minute walk to their day provides significant benefits over simply sitting and binging a show on a streaming service. The human body is meant to move and aside from the heart benefits presented through activity, the increased mobility and strength from exercise will help to ensure a long life of being able to move about and remain active into your golden years.
- Control Blood Pressure. High blood pressure has been shown to negatively affect the heart when it remains elevated over long periods of time. While there are medications for controlling this, natural remedies such as a healthy diet, exercise and stress management can reduce blood pressure and negate the need for pharmaceutical interventions.
- Manage Cholesterol. Cholesterol is essential for proper biological function, however an excess can lead to waxy build up in arteries and cause heart disease. There are different types of cholesterol and proper monitoring and guidance from your doctor can help increase the good type and reduce the bad kind, leading to a lower risk of cardiovascular issues.
- If you smoke, quit! Easier said than done, but with everything we know about smoking and its effects on the lungs, heart, blood pressure and production of carcinogens, it is always a smart move to stop smoking.
In light of February being Heart Health Month, we should take it upon ourselves to introduce some of these preventive measures and make them lifestyle changes so that we can reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and live longer, healthier lives.