Good heart health is essential to overall health. The heart is arguably the most important organ in the body. It is responsible for getting blood to every other organ. Coronary disease is a condition that is often hereditary but may be avoided by taking conscious steps to keep the heart working normally. Fortunately, maintaining a healthy heart isn’t complicated and a family history of heart problems doesn’t guarantee you will develop a heart problem. There are a few things everyone can do to reduce their risk factors of heart trouble so you can live a healthier and more fulfilling life.
Smoking is dangerous. Every tobacco product sold in the United States includes a warning. Smoking cigarettes or cigars increases your risk of developing heart disease by up to four times. There are several reasons for this:
smoking decreases your oxygen intake
it raises your blood pressure
it makes you more susceptible to clotting
smoking raises your heart rate
If you smoke, be honest with your doctor. They may have tools available to help you quit. Quitting could dramatically decrease the likelihood you will develop heart problems. However, the risk remains high even for those who don’t put cigarettes up to their own lips if they spend time with people who do. Secondhand smoke should not be taken lightly. Simply being in the room with a smoker can increase your chances of developing trouble with your heart or dying prematurely from heart trouble or lung cancer.
The importance of exercise cannot be overstated when it comes to heart health. It’s not only important to participate in some kind of aerobic exercise a few days a week, but you also need to be active throughout the day. Sitting for several hours at a time has been linked to an increase in cardiovascular incidents. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to avoid this risk factor. You can take short walks throughout the workday, even if you merely take a walk around the office to deliver paperwork to a colleague. A standing workstation may also help your blood flow and encourage you to move more throughout the day.
Although activity is important, you shouldn’t take part in any new strenuous activity without your doctor’s approval. For example, if you haven’t been running three miles every day, don’t start without consulting with your cardiologist. There’s a chance your doctor will encourage you to exercise but they may also want to initially monitor you in a controlled environment.
Periodontal disease has been linked to coronary artery disease. The best way to detect oral health problems, and potential cardiovascular problems, is to visit the dentist regularly. Brushing and flossing may prevent gum disease and other dental problems, but it’s still important to get annual dental checkups. If you notice blood on your toothbrush, don’t ignore it. Some of the signs of gum disease include bleeding gums, bad breath, and swollen gums. If your dental professional suggests that you make an appointment with a cardiologist, it’s likely they noticed something in your mouth that concerned them. Early detection is key to an effective treatment plan so be sure to follow up right away.
Fat is an important part of a healthy diet but not all fats are healthy. For example, trans fat should be avoided whenever possible. Processed foods are typically high in trans fats. You should limit the number of chips, cookies, and cakes that you eat to an occasional serving. Fried foods also tend to be high in trans fat. Instead of eating fried chicken, choose the healthier alternative, baked chicken. Making simple changes to your diet could decrease your risk of heart problems and allow you to live longer. In addition to baking instead of frying, check package labels for partially hydrogenated oils. These oils are trans fats and should be replaced with healthier alternatives.
People who eat a lot of unhealthy processed foods tend to be overweight. Obesity is another risk factor for heart trouble. Obesity may cause hypertension because an overweight body needs more blood to supply oxygen and nutrients. If you are overweight, one of your priorities should be to get your weight under control. Simply eating a healthier diet and maintaining an exercise routine could make a big difference. If you have trouble losing weight, talk to your doctor or nutritionist about creating a diet and exercise plan. If you have been diagnosed with coronary issues or any cardiovascular condition, it’s important to consult your cardiologist before you begin an exercise program.
If you aren’t waking up every day energized, you probably aren’t sleeping well. The problem could be sleep apnea. This condition causes breathing problems that often cause people to wake up multiple times during the night because they stop breathing. Sleep apnea has been linked to heart trouble so if you snore loudly or your partner has mentioned that you stop breathing while you sleep, it’s important to address this issue. Even if you don’t have sleep apnea, you should make sleep a priority. Everyone should sleep at least six hours a night. You might wake up more energized if you sleep seven or eight hours.
There are a number of simple things you can do to keep your heart healthy or avoid further damage if you already have a problem with your heart. By reading food labels and avoid foods that aren’t healthy, you may feel better overall. Eating better may also help you lose weight more quickly, thus reducing your risk for a cardiac event. Making even minor changes to your activity level could make a big difference when it comes to your heart health. Parking a little farther away from the entrance will allow you to get exercise without scheduling it into your day. If you quit smoking and stay away from others while they smoke, get plenty of sleep, and see your dentist regularly, you may see your overall health improve and your risk factors for heart issues drop significantly.
Carolina Cardiology Associates makes a commitment to the health of its patients by providing a range of services to maintain, restore and monitor the health of one’s cardiovascular system. Our doctors are trained in the use of the best medical technology available.
The experienced physicians at Carolina Cardiology Associates are committed to the health of every patient who walks through our doors. We understand the challenges of cardiovascular disease and will work with you to provide treatment, education, and a plan for the future to help you live your healthiest life.