how can you improve heart health
You can reduce your risk of heart disease by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Here are 7 simple habits that can improve your heart health

Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in the country. But you can take steps to reduce your risk of heart disease by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Here are 7 simple habits that can improve your heart health.

7 ways to improve heart health

1. Eat a heart-healthy diet

For your diet to help improve your heart health, it needs to contain a balanced amount of macronutrients, meaning you should be eating healthy fats, carbohydrates, and protein. Heart-healthy foods include:

2. Get moving

Exercise strengthens your heart and helps reduce blood pressure, which can contribute to heart disease. While any exercise is good for your heart, aerobic exercises tend to be better for your heart since they make it work harder to pump blood throughout your body. Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day whether it’s walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, or even doing household chores. 

3. Quit smoking

Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but one of the most important reasons to quit is that it can increase your risk of developing heart disease. Smoking can damage the lining of your heart arteries and can reduce the amount of oxygen in your blood.

4. Avoid alcohol

Alcohol can raise your blood pressure and damage your blood vessels. Limit your intake of alcohol to one drink a day, or give it up altogether to minimize the risks to your health.  

5. Lose weight

If you are overweight, your heart has to work extra hard to pump blood through your body, which can raise blood pressure. Losing weight can help reduce your blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

6. Manage stress

Stress causes your body to respond by releasing hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which can be damaging to your heart. Here are some strategies for managing stress:

  • Stay connected with the people you love.
  • Take some time to relax every day.
  • Do yoga or meditation to practice mindfulness.
  • Let go of things you can’t control.

7. Get enough sleep

Lack of sleep can increase your risk of high blood pressure, inflammation, and heart complications. Try to get at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep every night. If you have sleep apnea or another sleep-related disorder, seek treatment promptly and take all medications as prescribed to ensure that your body gets the rest it needs.

What are different types of heart diseases?

  • Arrhythmia: Arrhythmia refers to any change in the heart’s normal electrical impulses. Arrhythmias can cause the heart to beat too quickly, too slowly or irregularly, resulting in a broad range of symptoms.
  • Heart valve disease: The heart has four valves that work in unison to make sure that blood is pumped in the proper direction. Heart valve disease can occur when one or more of your four heart valves do not work correctly. Causes may include blockage, infections, and other severe heart conditions.
  • Coronary heart disease (CHD): CHD happens when plaque grows in the walls of the coronary arteries and limits the blood flow to the heart’s muscle. CHD may ultimately lead to a heart attack.
  • Heart failure: Heart failure occurs when the heart’s pumping capacity isn’t enough to meet the demands for blood and oxygen required by the rest of the body. This can be the result of a range of conditions that lead to weakening of the heart muscle.

How to prevent heart disease

While you can adopt healthy habits to improve your heart health, it’s also important to get regular check-ups to monitor your blood pressure, test for diabetes, high cholesterol, and other risk factors that could contribute to heart disease. That way, problems can be detected early and you can get timely treatment before any conditions worsen.

Early detection also means that you can correct these problems with simple interventions instead of relying on medications.

QUESTION

In the U.S., 1 in every 4 deaths is caused by heart disease. See Answer

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Medically Reviewed on 8/19/2021
References
MyHealthfinder. Keep Your Heart Healthy. https://health.gov/myhealthfinder/topics/health-conditions/heart-health/keep-your-heart-healthy

Aggarwal N. Easy Tips to Improve Your Heart Health. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/easy-tips-to-improve-your-heart-health