Maintaining proper heart health is the first step to preventing heart disease and other cardiac conditions. Many risk factors can increase your risk for a variety of heart-related problems, but there are two risk factors that you can control: diet and exercise.
Many people are aware of how dangerous heart disease can be; however, what many people don't realize is that the majority of heart disorders or conditions are the result of poor diet and a lack of exercise. A healthy heart is maintained by optimal body weight, normal blood fat levels, and appropriate levels of exercise. A diet based on heart healthy foods, including lots of fruits and vegetables, is very important and can actually help reverse the signs of heart disease.
The CDC recommends 150 minutes of exercise a day for optimum heart health. Sometimes that is hard to fit it all in at once. This is why many people use the 10,000 steps a day program. This method is designed for you to track activity throughout the day, not just while you are at the gym. To reach your 10,000 step goal, try parking farther away in parking lots, take the stairs or just get up from your desk every hour to take a lap through the hallway. Do whatever you have to do to reach your goals. Download our steps tracker to help you challenge yourself to meet your exercise goals. Try using your smartphone to help you track your steps or pick up an inexpensive pedometer at a retailer near you and start counting those steps.
The Physicians East network includes a team of experienced nutritionists who can help you discover a diet and plan that is good for you and still delicious. If you don't want to meet with a nutritionist, your Physicians East cardiologist or primary care physician can recommend a diet and exercise plan that is tailored to your specific needs. Follow your doctors’ instructions, and take medication as directed.
Medication: Often medication is prescribed to control blood pressure and blood lipids (fat). Your doctor may ask you to take a daily medication to decrease your chance of heart attack of stroke.
Surgery: When medical remedies are no longer practical, surgical intervention can repair heart valves, open blocked arteries, and relieve pressure around the heart if your pericardial sac is abnormal. Your medical team will assess your needs and provide surgical referral when needed to address your specific problems.
If you sleep less than six hours or more than nine hours a night, you may have an increased risk of stroke and heart disease. A 2008 study from the University of Chicago Medical School demonstrated that people with increased heart calcifications, linked with the risk of artery blockage or heart attack, slept for shorter amounts of time than people with healthier hearts. If you get less sleep, you have heightened stress and a higher heart rate. Shortened sleep is linked with increased C-reactive protein (CRP), indicating inflammation in the arteries. Lack of sleep increases insulin resistance, raising your risk for Type 2 diabetes, another risk factor for heart disease. Shortened sleep also interferes with appetite control, contributing to overeating and obesity, also risk factors for heart disease.