According to the CDC, the leading cause of death in America is heart disease. The prevalence is similar for men, women, as well as a majority of ethnic groups.
Fortunately, there are preventative measures you can take whether you have a healthy heart, or you are already at risk of developing heart disease. Keep reading to learn about 5 simple steps you can follow to improve your cardiac health!
1. Understand Cardiac Health with a Cardiologist
Prioritizing cardiac care starts by scheduling an appointment with your cardiologist.
A cardiologist specializes in treating conditions and diseases of the heart. After asking about your medical history and performing various tests, they can provide an analysis of your risk factors. Knowing risk factors will indicate which preventative measures you can be taking to pursue greater cardiac health.
In the appointment, ask questions and get recommendations from your cardiologist about which cardiac health tips are safe and make sense for you.
2. Consider Body Mass Index
Body Mass Index measures your weight in regards to your height. Generally, BMI indicates higher levels of body fat. If you have a high BMI, you may be considered overweight or obese, both of which contribute to increased cardiac health risks.
One of the easiest ways to lower BMI and maintain a healthy weight is to engage in a heart-healthy diet and incorporate frequent physical activity.
3. Mediterranean Diets & More
Most cardiac health hacks focus on the diet.
Try and reduce your salt intake. Diets that are high in sodium can lead to high blood pressure, which can cause different types of AFIB or an abnormal heartbeat.
Similarly, minimize unhealthy fats. Diets high in fat can increase cholesterol levels. When fat builds up in our arteries, it increases our risk of stroke and heart attack.
Incorporate fruits and vegetables, which are full of vitamins and minerals that help prevent heart disease. They are high in fiber and leave you fuller for longer, which means they’re a better alternative to high-calorie snacks. They’re also easy to prepare.
Some recommend following a Mediterranean diet, that consists of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, nuts, and legumes. Poultry and dairy are eaten less frequently, and red meat intake is limited. They tend to avoid added sugars and processed food.
If you’re hesitant to commit to a diet, start by monitoring portion sizes and eating high-fat or high-sugar foods in moderation.
4. Move with Purpose
Exercise is another lifestyle habit that benefits weight maintenance. It strengthens muscles making it easier for the heart to circulate blood throughout the body. Additionally, it protects against high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar.
Most physicians recommend engaging in 30 minutes of physical activity daily.
If 30 minutes seems hard to manage, break it into small sessions. Focus on incorporating more movement into your schedule. Take a walk on your lunch break, or opt for the stairs instead of the elevator.
You’re more likely to be consistent with exercise if you enjoy it.
5. Quit Smoking
The last of my steps for cardiac health is to stop smoking. Smoking raises blood pressure, increases the heart rate, and damages the vessels and arteries. It impairs blood circulation.
If you smoke, you’re more susceptible to strokes, heart attacks, heart disease, and various forms of cancer.
There are more than five steps to enhance cardiac health. However, these five are some of the easiest to incorporate into your lifestyle, and you’ll notice improvements almost immediately.
If you ever experience heart pain or severe discomfort, reach out to a doctor right away.
Hopefully, this cardiac healthcare advice was helpful. If you’re interested in more health and fitness information, check out the rest of our site!