Some of the most significant factors for heart disease are thing that can be managed if not fixed by changes in your lifestyle. For instance, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, physical inactivity and obesity. For many people things like high blood pressure come more easily because of their genetics, however a patient can work against their own genetic make up by making changes toward a healthy lifestyle.
Your heart, like the rest of your body needs specific nutrients in order to work properly. Unfortunately much of the food available to people in our fast food culture is lacking in those nutrients and instead is filled with things like salt and unhealthy fats which contribute to high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Focus on eating fresh, nutrient dense foods that feed not only your hunger, but also your vital organs.
If you don’t already have a habit of exercise, even the word itself may make you feel a little uncomfortable. But according to the American Heart Association, physical activity is anything that makes you move your body and burn calories. So take a breath and relax, you don’t need to start training for a marathon, but if you’re currently inactive start slowly by taking a long walk, or if you need some outside motivation join a local gym that offers exercise classes for people of all ages and levels of experience.
Know Your Family History
If your family has a history of heart attack, stroke, or heart disease you are much more likely to suffer from the same thing. And while you can’t necessarily counteract your genetics you can work against them by cultivating a healthy lifestyle and making your cardiologist aware of your family history so you can work as a team to prevent any future events. Additionally, for African American and Hispanic men the risk is much higher, so even if you don’t yet have symptoms, be aware that maintaining clean lifestyle will help you avoid heart disease complications in the future.
Risks Increase For Women As They Age
Age is particularly a factor for women over the age of 55. After menopause women’s estrogen levels drop which can be a contributing factor. Estrogen is believed to help artery walls remain flexible and as the production of this hormone decreases in women the likelihood of heart disease increases. Men do not have quite the same connection between age and heart health though the disease can be credited with every 1 in 4 male deaths.
Are you doing what it takes to care for your heart? If heart conditions are common in your family, or if your current lifestyle isn’t contributing to your heart health, consider making some positive changes in your lifestyle. And most importantly, find a cardiologist who can help you develop a plan to fight back against heart disease in the future. If you don’t currently have a cardiologist, contact us today.