Lowering your risk of heart disease requires a few easy but essential lifestyle changes.
Maintaining good cardiovascular health is a critical consideration, especially as we grow older. Heart disease can not only limit your mobility and independence but also lead to serious health events or conditions. These can be expensive and dangerous, but by making positive changes in your everyday life, you can lower your risk of heart disease.
Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S., according to the American Heart Association. For that reason, finding ways to promote better cardiovascular health is essential. Here are some easy ways to lower your risk of heart disease:
Eliminate bad habits
According to the Mayo Clinic, one of the most dangerous activities in regard to heart health is smoking tobacco. Not only can cigarettes and other products damage your blood vessels and heart, but the carbon monoxide in the smoke can lead to elevated blood pressure. As a result, your heart must work much harder to do its job. Any amount of tobacco smoke can be deleterious to your health, which means even smoking irregularly can be bad for your heart.
Physical activity keeps your body strong while also reducing the risk of conditions such as high cholesterol or diabetes. Just 30 minutes of light exercise a day is enough to keep your body healthy, especially aerobic activities such as walking. Older adults should consult with a doctor when crafting an exercise regimen. The Mayo Clinic found that any amount of physical activity promotes better heart health, and starting out small is a way to ease in to a more active lifestyle.
Adopt a heart-healthy diet
Good cardiovascular health may require difficult lifestyle changes, but switching to a heart-healthy diet is an opportunity to explore new foods. Red meat and processed items can be very detrimental to your heart's well-being, while fruits, vegetables and other items can lower your cholesterol or blood pressure.
The AHA suggested being more aware of nutrition labels and to avoid items with saturated fat, trans fat and sodium. Low-fat dairy products and poultry are good alternatives to consider. Meanwhile, heart-healthy items such as fish, nuts, beans and fruits and vegetables are great for your overall health. Cooking and being adventurous with new recipes is a excellent way to learn more about the food you are eating and uncover meals and flavors that are healthy and delicious.
Lower stress and anxiety in your life
This can be a more difficult lifestyle change to achieve, but is very important when it comes to cardiovascular health. Often people will cope with stress by over-eating or harboring tension and other physical ailments that can lead to other health issues.
Physical exercise can be an effective way to relieve negatives feelings, while calmer activities such as meditation or yoga may be helpful as well. Ultimately, lowering your daily feelings of stress requires a bit of mindfulness. Identify stressors you may have in your life and be honest and truthful about addressing them.
Find ways to lose weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is another key step in promoting good cardiovascular health and lowering your risk of heart disease. Excess body fat can lead to increased blood pressure and cholesterol, which slowly make your heart work harder.
Eating well, exercising regularly and getting a good night's sleep can be instrumental in maintaining a health weight. The Mayo Clinic found that calculating your body mass index is a good but imperfect measure of health. In general, working with your doctor before looking for ways to reduce your risk of heart disease is helpful for coming up with a targeted approach. Some areas of focus may be more beneficial in some individuals.
Source: Sunrise Senior Living