Did you know heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., causing about 1 in 4 deaths? Heart disease refers to several types of conditions; the most common of which is coronary artery disease (CAD), which often leads to a heart attack.
While there are a few risk factors you cannot change — such as gender, family history, or age — there are still several healthy heart tips you can follow to reduce your risk.
Here is how to keep your heart healthy and implement better habits into your day to keep your ticker going strong:
Did you know that your dental health is a good indication of your overall health? In fact, people with periodontal (gum) disease may have two to three times the risk of having a heart disease. This is because the two conditions share some of the same risk factors such as smoking or an unhealthy diet.
Research has shown that bacteria in the mouth can move into the bloodstream and cause an elevation in C-reactive protein which can inflame your blood vessels and increase your risk for stroke and heart disease.
To ward off gum disease, it is important to floss and brush your teeth daily. For additional tips on practicing good dental hygiene, check out our blog 8 Best Practices for Healthy Teeth Without Breaking the Bank.
It is a no-brainer that smoking and tobacco are harmful to your heart, but it is also essential to steer clear from secondhand smoke as well. The risk of developing heart disease is about 30% higher for people who are exposed to secondhand smoke. Additionally, exposure to tobacco smoke contributes to about 34,000 premature heart disease deaths every year.
Cigarette smoke in particular reduces the oxygen in your blood; this increases your heart rate and blood pressure, causing your heart to work harder to supply oxygen to your body.
The chemicals in secondhand cigarette smoke can also promote the development of plaque in the arteries. As such, those with high blood cholesterol or blood pressure have an even greater risk of developing heart disease when exposed.
Physical activity is not only a great way to maintain a healthy weight and improve your physical and mental health, it can also lower your risk of heart disease. Regular exercise can also reduce inflammation and improve your overall heart strength. Therefore, maintaining a healthy weight, you can reduce your risk of developing high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Every week, you should aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise like walking at a brisk pace or biking, 75 minutes of vigorous activity like running, and at least two strength-training sessions. When planning out your exercises, make sure to talk to your doctor about what is best for you and if there are any movements you shouldn’t be engaging in.
Keep in mind that any bit of activity per day can help, so it is important to get up and move throughout the day. Need some additional ideas on how to squeeze in an exercise while being productive with your day? Read our blog to learn How to Meet Your Daily Exercise Recommendation With Household Chores.
One of the best healthy-heart tips you can follow is to maintain a healthy diet to improve your blood pressure, cholesterol, and reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Here are a few heart-healthy foods to try:
You will also want to limit your consumption of salt, sugar, alcohol, processed carbohydrates, saturated fat, and trans fat. Pay close attention to food labels to ensure you are eating the appropriate foods and avoiding unhealthy, processed foods.
Without testing your blood pressure and cholesterol regularly, it is difficult to determine whether you have any potential heart conditions. Regular screenings and visits to your doctor can help you monitor your heart health and know if or when you need to take action.
If you experience an emergency or have chest pains and difficulty breathing, visit your local ER Near Me immediately for evaluation and diagnosis.
Interested in some heart-healthy recipes? Download our free recipe book now!