Your heart is where your life is! A healthy heart beats between 60-90 beats per minute and that may slow down a little as we age. That means your heart could eat more than 140,000 times each day! It’s crazy to think that the organ we depend on for the very breath of life is the one we so often fail to take the best care of. In this article, we will give you a few tips to take care of your heart and live the longest, healthiest life possible!
1. Keep Your Blood Pressure in Normal Ranges
When a person has high blood pressure, a lot can go wrong with the heart, including plaque that builds up in your arteries and if that is ignored for too long, it can cause a heart attack due to low blood flow which causes blockages. High blood pressure is easy to treat these days and that is a wonderful thing, but it has become so common, that we rarely take it as seriously as we should anymore.
Your blood pressure reading should fall in the range of 120/80, or somewhere close to those numbers. Checking it often is okay, but your doctor should be checking it at least yearly to monitor it. If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, your doctor may suggest some lifestyle changes to get you back into healthy ranges. These include lowering your salt intake, more exercise, no fried or greasy foods, cutting out alcohol, and in general just becoming healthier. This also includes losing weight if necessary.
2. Manage cholesterol and triglycerides.
Your doctor should run bloodwork when you are fasting. It will check the cholesterol levels in your blood. There is “good” cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol and you will be checked to see if these two levels are where they need to be. If they are not, you are at significant risk for heart disease or even a heart attack.
Be aware of your family history. If there is a lot of heart disease in your family, you may want to stay on top of these levels even more vigilantly. Before you go thinking you’ll never be able to ear French fries again, just know that a healthy diet does not exclude yummy foods! There are so many foods that are heart-healthy and delicious! Learning about good fats and bad fats is the first thing to do! Good fats will actually make your heart healthy, so eat up on fish, nuts, avocados, olives, and heart-healthy oils.
3. Maintain a healthy weight.
When you are overweight, it’s much more difficult for healthy blood flow to your heart and through the rest of the body. If there is a build-up of plaque in the arteries, you are far more at risk for heart disease. You should consider intervention if your BMI (Body Mass Index) is above 30.
4. Exercise regularly.
We all need exercise! Being active physically will increase your heart health dramatically! It also reduces your stress level, which makes you healthier all the way around. All it takes is 20-30 minutes of exercise several days a week to stay in top shape, whether you are walking, jogging or doing light aerobics. Try doing something fun like dancing to get you started!
5. Quit smoking.
Smoking is a terrible habit and comes with terrible consequences, including having a very negative effect on your heart health. Did you know that 20 minutes after stopping smoking your blood pressure returns to normal levels? It’s true! All it takes is 3 months before your lungs recover and heal, and within 12 months, your heart disease risk is literally cut in half. If you want to quit, it’s never too late! Ask your doctor for help.
For more information on how to keep a healthy heart that will tick for years to come, please contact us today!
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