Tips for Preventing Heart Disease

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So does heart disease run in your family? We are glad you help guide you through a preventative approach to your health! Take the reigns. Here are some lifestyle changes can help treat and prevent heart disease:

  • Eat a healthy diet. Maintaining a heart healthy diet is key for preventing heart disease. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan for optimal heart health. The DASH diet focuses on heart-healthy foods that are low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium, and rich in nutrients, protein, and fiber. Foods to focus on include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, and nuts. The DASH eating plan limits red meats, sweets, added sugars, and sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Exercise regularly. Physical activity has numerous benefits, including strengthening your heart and improving circulation. For optimal heart health, the AHA recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity five days a week, or at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity three days a week in addition to moderate- or high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity two days a week.
  • Control your blood pressure. High blood pressure is one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease. Be sure to get tested regularly for high blood pressure. That means once a year for most adults, and more often as directed if your blood pressure is high.  According to the AHA, a normal blood pressure reading is 120/80 millimters of mercury (mmHg). Once you get above this range, your risk of cardiovascular disease increases. Lifestyle changes and medication can help lower blood pressure.
  • Keep cholesterol under control. High cholesterol can clog your arteries and raise your risk of coronary artery disease and heart attack. Again, our health coaches will prescribe lifestyle changes, or your doctor will prescribe medication, if needed, to lower your cholesterol.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese significantly increases the risk of heart disease since it raises the risk of other heart disease risk factors, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Controlling weight through a healthy diet and exercise will help prevent these conditions and lower your risk of heart disease. (6)
  • Limit alcohol intake. Too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure and add extra calories to your diet, which can lead to weight gain, both of which increases the risk of heart disease. Healthy women of all ages and men older than 65 should stick to drinking up to one drink a day, while men 65 and younger should limit their alcohol intake to two drinks a day. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1 ½ ounces of liquor.
  • Don’t smoke. If you use tobacco, it is important to quit. If you don’t smoke, it is important not to start. Smoking cigarettes raises your blood pressure and leads to a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. Talk to our health coaches or your doctor about methods to quit that will work best for you.
  • Manage stress. Stress can affect the heart in all sorts of ways, including raising blood pressure and in extreme cases, even triggering a heart attack. Additionally, some people cope with stress in unhealthy ways, such as overeating or turning to alcohol or tobacco, all of which increase the risk of heart disease. Healthy ways to manage stress include exercise, meditation, and cognitive behavioral therapy.
  • Manage diabetes. Having diabetes, or even prediabetes, significantly increases your risk for heart disease since over time, high blood sugar can damage your blood vessels. Our coaches will help you to get screened for diabetes regularly, and if you have the condition, follow your doctor’s guidance to keep it under control.

Remember, your heart is worth all the preventive life choices! Sign up for our membership to receive the tools and encouragement along the way.