What Is Heart Disease?
Heart disease is actually an umbrella term for a range of conditions affecting the heart. Some examples of heart disease include:
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart arrhythmias
- Congenital heart defects
- Heart valve disease
Practice the following 8 healthy lifestyle habits to not only lower your heart disease risk, but enjoy better health overall:
- Practice Cardio Every Week
Doctors recommend that adults get 150 minutes of aerobic activity every week. Why? Exercise helps lower your risk of heart disease in 4 ways at once - it improves your circulation, strengthens your heart, lowers blood pressure, and decreases levels of bad cholesterol.
- Avoid Smoking And Vaping
The chemicals from cigarettes and the nicotine from vaping devices raises blood pressure. Elevated blood pressure puts you at an increased risk for stroke and heart attack. Talk to your primary care provider (PCP) if you want guidance or resources to help you quit.
- Control Cholesterol & Triglyceride Levels
When you have high cholesterol and high levels of triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood), you are at an increased risk of getting coronary artery disease. Embracing a heart-healthy diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains is one of the best ways to curb this risk. Try to incorporate sources of omega 3 fatty acids into your diet as well, as they have been shown to lower triglyceride levels and boost high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol) levels.
- Know Your Risk Factors
Adults between the ages of 40 and 75, smoke, have kidney disease, or have a family history of heart disease, the American Heart Association recommends that you use their Check. Change. Control. Calculator to estimate your risk. This is not an exact science, so you should always check with your doctor to see if there’s anything you should be doing to lower your risk of getting heart disease.
- Limit Alcohol Intake
Excess alcohol consumption, especially over a long period of time, can elevate blood pressure. Not only that, it adds unnecessary calories to your diet, which can lead to eventual weight gain.
- Manage Your Diabetes
Diabetics are twice as likely to develop diabetic heart disease. Chronically high blood sugar damages the blood vessels, so if you do not have a healthy diet, be sure you get tested for diabetes. If you already have been diagnosed with diabetes, carefully follow your doctor’s instructions for managing it.
- Avoid Dehydration
Dehydration does more than just make you thirsty, it makes your heart pump harder. Make sure you get about 8 glasses of water per day to avoid dehydration so your heart doesn’t have to work harder than it needs to.
- Mind Your Food Portions
You’ve probably heard that modern American portion sizes are way larger compared to the rest of the world, and to how big they used to be. This portion size guide will help you understand how much you really need from each of the major food groups.
Premier Medical Associates is an award-winning practice that provides expert cardiovascular services along with numerous other specialities to patients in Western Pennsylvania. We are the largest multi-specialty physician practice in the Greater Pittsburgh area. Call us if you would like to set up an appointment for you or a member of your family. We are open for in-office visits, and are currently offering video visits to patients to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.