Heart disease describes a collection of issues that affect your heart and the associated blood vessels, including narrowed arteries, arrhythmias, and congenital heart problems. Heart disease puts you at risk of life-threatening complications, such as stroke and heart attack. In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that more than 640,000 people died due to heart disease.
The positive news is that in many cases heart disease can be prevented. And if you already have heart disease, lifestyle changes can help manage the condition. By implementing a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity, and other acts of self-care, you can avoid heart disease and major complications.
At Creekside Family Practice in Cypress, TX, Dr. Hammad Qureshi offers the following tips to help you avoid or manage heart disease. Read on to learn five of the most important changes you can make starting today.
1. Eat a balanced, whole-foods diet
As the old adage goes: you are what you eat. That said, avoid processed foods, foods high in saturated fats and trans fats, and high-cholesterol foods to boost your heart health. Instead, focus on a low-salt, high-fiber diet. Eat lean proteins, such as chicken and fish and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. To keep your blood sugar in check or help manage diabetes, also limit the amount of added sugar you consume.
2. Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight or obese puts you at an increased risk for several health conditions, from hormone imbalances and metabolic diseases to heart disease and certain types of cancer. By losing just 5-10% of your body weight when you’re overweight, you are likely to achieve health benefits such as improved blood pressure and blood cholesterol; when these numbers are high, you’re at a greater risk of heart disease.
3. Move more
One of the easiest ways to keep your heart healthy and maintain your weight is through physical activity. Aim for about 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise during the week – this equals about 30 minutes each day. Try bicycling or taking a brisk walk with your family or dog.
It may sound like a lot, but you don’t have to exercise for large periods at a time. Instead, exercise for 10 minutes here and there over the week.
4. Limit alcohol and quit smoking
Drinking an excess of alcohol raises your blood pressure levels. Smoking and other tobacco products increase your chances of developing heart disease. To avoid these health complications, women should limit their intake of alcohol to one beverage per day, and men should have just two. And if you smoke, we can help you kick the habit once and for all.
5. Manage stress
A stressful lifestyle contributes to chronic disease, including heart disease, hypertension, and obesity. To protect your heart health, add things to your schedule that can help you manage stress, such as engaging in relaxing activities, such as yoga or deep breathing. You may also meet with a qualified mental health provider for talk therapy.
Even if you make these lifestyle changes, you should get regular cardiovascular screenings. Schedule those at Creekside Family Practice where we tailor your screenings to your personal and family health history, current health concerns, and individual risks.
To learn more ways to prevent heart disease, request an appointment online or over the phone at Creekside Family Practice today.