8 Tips for a healthier heart


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8 Tips for a healthier heart

October 15, 2014


February is National Heart Month When we are talking about heart disease in this context, we are really talking about coronary artery disease, also known as CAD. . Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. There are several risk factors for heart disease that are not under our control. These include family history, age and male sex. The good news is that there are many risk factors that you can do something about.


Stop smoking-If you are a smoker, you significantly increase the risk of having a heart attack. There are several options for quitting. Of course, many people are able to quit on their own but if you feel you need additional help, you may want to enroll in a smoking cessation program.


Control your cholesterol-If you don’t know your cholesterol numbers, you should definitely find out. Depending on the number of additional risk factors you have and whether you have pre-existing heart disease, your doctor can tell you what your ideal cholesterol numbers should be.


Manage your blood pressure-if you have hypertension, you should definitely keep it well controlled.  Certain specific types of blood pressure medications have also shown to provide additional protection against adverse outcomes of heart disease. Again, it depends on the number and type of your additional cardiac risk factors as to how you will choose to manage your blood pressure.


Tightly control your diabetes-the risk of adverse events with diabetes is directly linked to how well you control your blood sugar. If you are a diabetic, you should make sure to check your blood sugar regularly and also have checks of your Hemoglobin A1C test and Urine Microalbumin to follow how tightly you are controlling your diabetes and whether you have early signs of complications.


Get moving-Having a sedentary lifestyle is associated with a higher risk of heart disease. Getting regular exercise at a moderate to vigorous level is desirable but even smaller amounts and less intense exercise can be beneficial.  If you don’t do anything else, try to incorporate small amounts of increased activity throughout your day. When engaging in exercise or increased activity, be sure to work with your doctor to make sure you don’t injure yourself.


Healthy weight-Achieving a healthy weight is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.  Follow a healthy diet and appropriate exercise as recommended by your doctor to achieve your goals.


Eat right-appropriate diet can affect many of the above risk factors for heart disease.  You should have a well balanced diet that is rich in antioxidants and fiber with limitations of fats (especially saturated fats and trans-fats), salt and empty calories (such as sugar).


Stress-Though the link and stress and heart disease is not as well understood as some of the other risk factors, there have been multiple observational studies that have noted a link between stress, anger and other emotional states  and the incidence of heart disease.?



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