Protecting your heart and staying healthy should be a priority for everyone. Why? Because heart disease is the leading cause of death in men and women across the United States. That's a heavy reality and is not one that should be taken lightly. But the good news is that it's actually much easier to live a heart-healthy lifestyle than you might think!
Understanding your risk level for heart disease and the changes you can make to prevent it or combat it are two of the biggest steps you can take for better heart health. By taking preventative measures, you can improve your heart health and your overall health as well. Let's take a look at some preventative measures you can take to improve your heart health.
Preventative Measures to Improve Heart Health
There are a few things you can do and start implementing right away to get started on your journey to a healthier heart. These include understanding your risk factors, getting specific tests done, and making some lifestyle changes.
Understanding Your Heart Health Risks
Risk factors for heart disease can be different for you than they are for others. It's important to talk to your doctor about your level of risk, especially if you experience or fit any of the following:
- High blood pressure
- Obesity or overweight
- High cholesterol
- Diabetes or prediabetes
- Are a smoker
- Don't regularly exercise
- Have a family history of heart disease
- Have unhealthy eating habits
- Have a history of preeclampsia during pregnancy
- Are a woman over the age of 55 or a man over the age of 45
Getting specific tests done can help your doctor determine if you are at high risk for heart disease. Two of the major risk factors for heart disease that you'll want to get tested for are high cholesterol and high blood pressure. If you take these tests and are in the unhealthy range, your doctor can help you come up with a plan (or provide medication) to help get you within a healthy range.
Make Lifestyle Changes
You don't have to try to do all of these lifestyle changes at once, but starting with even one will make a difference for your heart health! As you feel like you get into a rhythm with one, add another, and then another. It may be a process, but it all contributes to a stronger and healthier heart and overall lifestyle. Here are some lifestyle changes that will contribute to greater heart health:
- Quit smoking
- Aim for a healthy weight
- Get regular physical activity
- Manage stress
- Get good-quality sleep
- Choose heart-healthy foods
Talk With Your Doctor
Ultimately, you'll need to meet with your doctor to determine your health risks and come up with a plan for creating a heart-healthy lifestyle. If you already know that you are going to need heart surgery and are looking for ways to rehab faster, check out our resource page for patients.