A healthy heart leads to a healthier life. With a doctor’s help, you can fight heart disease over time by making small lifestyle changes and sticking with them.
“Heart disease” refers to plaque building up in the walls of your arteries. It also describes disorders like heart failure, and heart valve problems. Anyone, including children, can develop heart disease. You are either born with heart disease, or it can advance over time due to an unhealthy lifestyle.
Talk with your doctor about how you can take the following steps toward a healthier heart:
Step 1: Know your heart disease risk
If you do not have heart disease now, your doctor can help you find out how likely you are to develop heart disease, based on your family history, current health, and lifestyle. Then, your doctor can help you make a plan to fight heart disease.
Step 2: Don’t Smoke
Smoking lowers your tolerance for physical activity, which in turn raises the risk of blood clots. Your doctor can get you the help you need to quit.
Step 3: Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight can increase your risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes – all risk factors that can lead to heart disease. Your doctor can help you make sure your lifestyle keeps your weight on track, and lowers your chances of developing those conditions.
Step 4: Eat a healthy diet.
A heart-healthy diet includes sensible food portions, and is rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean poultry and fish, nuts, and beans (legumes). Your doctor can help you put together a heart-healthy eating plan based on your own diet needs.
Step 5: Exercise regularly.
The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week –30 minutes per day, five times per week. Your doctor can help you create an exercise plan that fits your needs and abilities.
Follow these steps, and with your doctor’s help, you will lower your risk of health complications from heart disease. Here’s to the start of your new heart-healthy life!