Do Your Heart Good
March 23, 2022
You can take steps to improving your heart health by knowing your risk factors, leading a healthy lifestyle and managing conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Cardiovascular Medicine (Heart Care)
Did you know that heart disease disease and heart attacks can be prevented? You can take steps to improving your heart health by knowing your risk factors, leading a healthy lifestyle and managing conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Heart disease includes several types of heart conditions. The most common is coronary artery disease which can lead to heart attack and heart failure.
Coronary artery disease is caused by plaque buildup in the walls of the arteries that supply blood to the heart and other parts of the body. Plaque is made up of deposits of cholesterol and other substances in the artery. Over time, plaque buildup causes the arteries to narrow which can partially or totally block blood flow to the heart muscle and the rest of the body.
Here are some ways to help prevent heart disease before symptoms arise.
Check Your Cholesterol:
Your healthcare provider should test your cholesterol levels at least once every 4-6 years. Talk with your provider about this simple blood test. If you do have high cholesterol, lifestyle changes and medicine can help lower your cholesterol and risk for heart disease.
Control Your Blood Pressure:
A normal blood pressure is 120/80 or lower. Providers usually take several readings at different appointments before diagnosing patients with elevated or high blood pressure. High blood pressure, or hypertension, causes harm by making the heart and blood vessels work harder and less efficiently and damaging artery tissues. If blood pressure medication is prescribed, it’s important to take as directed.
Know Your Family History:
If heart disease, heart attacks, high blood pressure and cholesterol run in your family, talk with your healthcare provider because you may need your cholesterol and blood pressure checked more often. Be sure to tell your provider if your father, mother or sibling had a heart attack before age 50.
Eat for Good Health:
Eating foods high in salt, sugar, saturated fat and processed carbohydrates raise your risk for heart attack. Focus on adding more fruits, veggies and whole grains to meals and snacks. When it comes to protein, eat more plant-based proteins than meats. Soy-based proteins, lentils, chickpeas, almonds, peanuts, beans, sprouted grain breads and chia seeds are excellent protein sources. Tofu contains 10 grams of protein per half cup, and is super easy to cook! A large baked potato offers 8 grams of protein. Choose mushrooms, broccoli and kale as sides to add protein and antioxidants.
Regular physical activity can help people lower their blood pressure and cholesterol and maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese puts people at higher risk for heart disease. Health experts recommend 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week. Walking is a good way to improve overall health. Work your way up 20-30 minutes every day.
Smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease. Quit Partner is Minnesota’s free program to quit nicotine, smoking, vaping and chewing. Call 1-800-Quit-Now or visit www.quitpartnermn.com for tools and support. Your healthcare provider can also help.
Be good to your heart!