Tips for a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle
by Fernando Boccalandro
As seen in the Odessa American Medical Matters:
Taking care of your heart is so important. Here are tips that can help you live a more heart-healthy lifestyle.
- Check your blood pressure at least once every six months to make sure it is within normal limits and that you do not have hypertension.
- Know your cholesterol levels. If they are normal, then you should check them at least every three to five years. If not in normal range, check them yearly.
- Exercise at least 30 minutes daily five days a week. Include moderate exercise such as walking, biking, aerobics, yoga, etc.
- One can of regular soda has 126 calories of added sugars. Instead of soda, drink water, coffee, unsweetened tea or other calorie-free drinks. When you do drink beverages with sugar, go for milk or all-fruit juices that count toward the daily dairy or fruit intake.
- It is important for your cardiovascular health to have a good quality of sleep for a minimum of seven to eight hours daily.
- Be a hero for your heart and stop smoking today. MCH has a FREE Smoking Independence Class every Thursday at 6 p.m. in the MCH Cardiopulmonary Education Room.
- One in three Americans has prediabetes … and only one in ten knows it. So know your risk for diabetes and get screened for it if you have not done so recently.
- Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and losing weight can prevent diabetes. Diabetes largely is a preventable disease in the majority of patients.
- Avoid salty processed food such as salty snacks, chips, packaged food and canned soup. Instead opt for fresh, frozen or canned foods without any added sodium, sauces or seasonings.
- By you becoming your own chef and seasoning your own food at home, you can control how much sodium is used. Try out other herbs and spices to get the kick you want instead of shaking on more salt.
- If you drink alcohol, do so with moderation. That means up to one drink a day for a woman and two drinks a day for men … as defined by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
- The majority of the patients that have experienced a heart attack, have had a stent placed in the heart or have had a prior bypass should be taking one low-dose aspirin and a cholesterol medication for the duration of their lifetime. Make sure you discuss this with your doctor.
- Stress management is very important for a healthy heart. The best ingredients to help manage daily stress levels are following a good diet, having a healthy sleeping pattern and continuing a daily exercise program.
- Avoid food products with trans fats, which is known to increase your risk of developing heart disease.
- Good dental hygiene has been associated with a healthy heart as well. Maintain good dental hygiene by brushing your teeth, flossing and visiting your dentist regularly.
You can do this. Living a heart healthy lifestyle will make you feel better and you can enjoy the things that are important to you. Take care of yourself … it’s important!