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6 Heart Health Risks You Can Control

May 25, 2017
Published in: Heart

A woman running to exercise for a healthy heart

When it comes to your keeping your heart healthy, there are some factors that you may not be able to control. Changing your genetic history is impossible, but there are some things you can change to reduce your risk of heart disease. You may not realize it but changing the risk factors you can control will also help you decrease your overall risks and make the factors you can't control less of a risk. Here are six heart health risks you can start tackling right away.

Improve Your Diet

Assortment of fresh fruits and vegetablesOne of the biggest changes you can do to minimize your risk of heart disease is to change what you eat. Consuming less saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol is much better for your heart—and it might help you lose a little bit of extra weight, which also decreases your risk for heart disease. Opting for leaner meats and fish instead of red meat, and eating more fruits and leafy green vegetables will give you the best possible odds of having a healthy heart.

Quit Smoking Cigarettes

There are so many reasons to stop smoking. Reducing risks of heart disease is one of the top reasons, but there are many other illnesses caused by smoking. Even social smoking can increase cardiovascular risks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking causes one in three deaths from heart disease. It’s not easy, but help is available for smokers who want to quit.

Avoid Sitting Too Long

Man sitting at a table doing paperworkIf you work a desk job, your risks of heart disease are much higher than someone who stays active throughout the day. The reasoning behind this may not be clear, but spending too much time sitting increases your heart health risks significantly. Make a conscious effort to get up and move around throughout the day, at least 15 minutes every two hours, to minimize your risks of heart disease.

Add Exercise to Your Routine

It's easy to get so wrapped up in your life that you overlook your body's need to be physically active. No, you don't need to run a marathon to make a difference. Just 30 minutes each day can make a huge impact on your heart health. If you're new to physical activity, start slowly and find a safe form of exercise that raises your heart rate. Before beginning an exercise regimen, you may want to talk over your fitness options with your doctor, especially if you're over fifty.

Reduce Unnecessary Stress

A woman doing yoga to relax for good healthBelieve it or not, your stress levels can impact your heart health. If you've experienced extended periods of stress, your heart can feel the effects. Taking action to reduce life stressors is an excellent way to minimize heart health risk factors. People are different, so stress relief techniques that work for others may not be your cup of tea. Find a stress relieving activity that works for you and run with it. Your heart will appreciate it.

Get Regular Healthcare

You're not sick, so why go the doctor, right? Not all doctor's visits happen when you're under the weather. It's important for your doctor to see you at least once a year for a checkup to make sure you're in the best possible health. Routine testing, blood pressure checks, and cholesterol levels are necessary for ensuring that your body is functioning the way it should. In some cases, early detection of illnesses you may not be aware of can save your life.

While you can't control every aspect of your life or health, controlling as many risk factors for heart illnesses as you can is the best practice for maintaining optimum levels of health. It would be a shame to suffer needlessly because of something you could control. Start small, choose one risk factor to focus on. Once you are comfortable, add another. There's no reason to wait, make your life better by striving for a healthy heart today.

If you're experiencing any signs of heart disease or other problems that you believe may be cardiology issues, we strongly urge you to contact the Augusta Health Cardiology Clinic. Give us a call today at (540) 245-7080.