Heart disease is one of the most common causes of death in the United States. Even though the chances of developing heart disease are more likely as you age, there are still a few things that you can do to make those chances a little lower. If you are interested in learning simple tips to live a heart-healthy lifestyle, continue reading.  

1. Exercise 

Staying active is a great way to make sure that your heart stays healthy, no matter your age. It is recommended that you get about 30 minutes of exercise every day. Healthy adults should do activities that strengthen muscles, improve balance and increase flexibility. Walking can be a great exercise to do as it helps lower your blood sugar, helps you lose weight and helps build strength and stamina.  

2. Eat Heart-Healthy Foods 

What you eat can play a huge role in your heart health. It is a good rule of thumb to “eat from the rainbow” which means to eat assorted colors of fruits and vegetables. Other foods to eat to help decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease include eating whole grains such as oatmeal and brown rice, avoiding sugar-sweetened drinks and desserts, as well as limiting foods with butter, shortening or other fats. If you are unsure what foods are good to eat, your primary care physician or nutritionist can help you develop a meal plan that is effective for you.  

3. Watch Your Weight 

Being overweight can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and type two diabetes. Eating healthily and exercising regularly can help you maintain a healthy weight as you age. For adults who are between the ages of 40 and 59 and are overweight, the chances of developing cardiovascular disease may increase. Your outlook on life may look a little grim if you are overweight, but by exercising and eating healthily you can keep a healthy weight and decrease your risk of developing heart disease.  

4. Check for Sleep Apnea 

Snoring can be something that may bother your partner as you are going to sleep, but, generally, it is unproblematic to your health unless it is accompanied by sleep apnea as it can be detrimental to your heart health. Sleep apnea occurs when a person’s breathing pauses while they are asleep. These episodes, whether they are mild or severe, can sometimes wake you up gasping for air. However, this does not happen to everyone. Sleep apnea is associated with high blood pressure, arrhythmia, stroke and heart failure. Doing a sleep study can help you diagnose your sleep apnea and help you produce the best treatment plan for you.  

5. Quit Smoking  

If you smoke, then it is time to quit. Smoking can influence multiple aspects of your body including your cardiovascular system. When the smoke is inhaled, the toxic mix of chemicals can interfere with a plethora of processes in your body that keep it functioning. When cigarette smoke is inhaled, the blood in the rest of your body becomes contaminated and therefore can damage your heart and blood vessels which can lead to heart disease.  

6. Reduce Alcohol Consumption 

Alcohol can have an impact on the cardiovascular system. At the time of consumption, drinking alcohol can speed up your heart rate and increase your blood pressure. Long-term, drinking above the limit can lead to ongoing increased heart rate, high blood pressure, weakened heart muscle and an irregular heartbeat, all of which can lead to an alcohol-caused heart attack or stroke. Therefore, reducing how much you drink can make your chances of developing heart disease less.  

7. Reduce Stress 

It has been noted that there may be a relationship between heart disease risk and stress in a person’s life that could affect the risk factors for heart disease and stroke. For example, if you are under stress, you are more inclined to overeat, start smoking or smoke more than you otherwise would, all of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease. So, try doing activities such as walking, reading, or any other activity that you find enjoyable that can help reduce your stress.  

As February is American Heart Month, now is a great time to make sure you are taking great care of your heart. By taking these seven tips with you, you will be able to make sure your heart is as healthy as it can be. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us.