Preventing heart disease is not always 100% possible because many types of heart disease are inherited, such as abnormal rhythms, structural heart deformities often present at birth, heart muscle disorders called cardiomyopathies, and high blood cholesterol levels which can lead to coronary artery disease and high blood pressure. Coronary artery disease happens when the arteries that support the heart get clogged. This can lead to a heart attack or heart failure. While you can’t control what you inherit, there are still changes you can make to reduce your risks and keep your heart healthy.
Tips for Preventing Heart Disease
1. Healthy Diet
Choosing whole natural foods is one of the easiest ways to follow a heart-healthy diet. This means avoiding processed or pre-packaged foods and instead loading up your plate with dark leafy greens, lean protein, and complex (high-fiber) carbohydrates. Also try to avoid salty foods and pass on adding extra salt as this helps to keep blood pressure levels lower.
2. Exercise & Daily Activity
Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight, which helps lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. It is recommended that adults aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, like brisk walking or bicycling, each week. Children and adolescents should get at least 1 hour of physical activity every day.
3. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Carrying excess weight can put increased stress on our hearts and lead to health problems such as high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol.
4. Avoid Smoking & Limit Alcohol Intake
Smoking increases your risk of heart disease and is simply not worth the risk. Alcohol has also been shown to play a role in raising blood pressure so it is recommended to consume no more than 1-2 drinks per day.
5. Get Your Cholesterol (Lipid Profile) Checked
Your cholesterol (or lipid profile) should be regularly checked by your healthcare provider, depending on your age. If you have high cholesterol, your doctor may recommend medications and lifestyle changes to help reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
6. Monitor and Control Blood Pressure
It is recommended to get your blood pressure checked every 1-2 years because most individuals with high blood pressure have no symptoms. Exercise, a healthy diet, and medications can help control and lower blood pressure if it is too high.
7. Manage Stress
Stress can cause elevated blood pressure and in some cases can even trigger a heart attack. Practice de-stressing with meditating, breathing exercises, and doing fun, enjoyable activities.
Am I at Risk for Heart Disease?
If you think you may be at an increased risk of heart disease, set up an appointment with your primary physician for a full examination.