Heart disease is a massive problem in the United States. It’s the leading cause of death for men and women, and one person dies every 37 seconds because of cardiovascular disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around one in every four deaths in the U.S. are from cardiovascular disease.
Research also shows around 1 in 50 victims of heart attacks are misdiagnosed and sent home without the proper treatment.
Taking control of your heart health is one of the most important things you can do in your life, and the following are tips to help you get started.
It seems like sleep is the remedy for everything, and maybe it is.
In one study, young and middle-aged adults who got seven hours of sleep a night had less calcium buildup in their arteries than people who slept five hours or less each night. Of course, there’s too much of a good thing. In the same study, people who slept nine hours or more had more calcium in their arteries than the seven-hour-a-night group.
Along with the amount of sleep you get, the quality of sleep is also relevant.
Exercise is essential for heart health and it’s imperative that you avoid a sedentary lifestyle. You should aim to do a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic, cardio activity every day. If you can manage it, anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes a day is even better. It’s recommended that you alternate between days where you do moderate-intensity exercise and then days where the intensity is more vigorous.
You also need to include resistance training into your workout routine two or three times a week, and stretching is important too because it helps you be more comfortable when you exercise and less prone to injuries.
When you exercise, it raises your heart rate, and that strengthens it.
Along with exercise that’s good for the heart directly, it also helps you lose weight. Being overweight is linked to most of the major heart disease risk factors, including bad cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Belly fat is especially dangerous when it comes to heart health because it creates chemicals that can trigger chronic inflammation throughout the body.
Along with setting aside time for a dedicated workout throughout the week, you also need to move more, even if it’s just standing or walking around more frequently. Even regular exercise isn’t enough to combat the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
Keep An Eye On Your Blood Pressure
If your blood pressure gets too high, it can damage artery walls, which then leads to the creation of scar tissue. That scar tissue makes it more difficult for blood and oxygen to get to and from your heart, so the heart has to pump faster. The heart, as a result, gets worn out faster, and if it’s not getting enough oxygen, parts of it can die.
If you’re under the age of 40, get your blood checked every three to five years. If you’re over 40 or have a history of high blood pressure, get it checked at least once a year.
In order to lower high blood pressure, watch your intake of alcohol and increase the amount of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein you consume.
If you can’t manage your blood pressure with lifestyle changes, you may need to take medicine.
Watch Your Diet
Some of the general things to keep in mind for a heart-healthy diet are named above, but there are other steps you can take as well.
For example, eating more fiber each day can lower your risk of heart disease. You should try to make sure you get at least 30g a day. Fiber can come from different sources such as bread, oats, and fruits and vegetables.
Reduce how much saturated fat you’re eating by choosing lean meat and low-fat dairy products.
Reducing salt is good for lowering blood pressure and helping your heart be healthier too.
Keep Diabetes Under Control
If you have diabetes, you are more likely to develop heart disease, and you are at a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.
It’s important if you have diabetes that you make sure you manage your blood sugar and your cholesterol and blood pressure.
When you have diabetes, the high blood glucose levels can eventually cause damage to your blood vessels and the nerves that control vessels and your heart. The longer you have diabetes, the more likely it is that you’ll develop cardiovascular disease.