Many people believe a heart attack or other major heart issue is something they will never have to personally deal with. However, around 40% of adults are at high risk of developing heart disease due to factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
If not properly monitored and cared for, these factors may lead to a heart attack. A heart attack is the body’s response to blood not being able to get to the heart due to a blockage. Symptoms of a heart attack may include chest pain or tightness, difficulty breathing, and nausea.
Not caring well for your heart could also result in a stroke, which occurs when blood is unable to reach the brain. Stroke symptoms include immobility on one side of the body and slurred speech. A stroke can cause severe damage to the brain.
Still, it is possible to make lifestyle changes that will help lower your risk of heart disease. Below are some steps you can take to make sure you keep your heart healthy.
1. Talk to your doctor about your risk.
Your doctor can do tests to determine what factors put you at risk for heart attack or stroke. These tests will let you know important information such as:
– Your blood pressure: Healthy blood pressure is generally around 120 systolic mm HG and over 80 diastolic mm Hg.
– Your cholesterol: Your good cholesterol levels should be above 50 mg/dl. And your bad cholesterol should be less than 100 mg/dl. Triglycerides should be under 150 mg/dl.
– Your glucose levels: A fasting glucose, which is the level of glucose in your blood after fasting for eight hours should be under 100 mg/dl.
– Your BMI: This number is a measurement that indicates whether your weight and height are at a healthy ratio. A healthy BMI is over 18.5 and under 24.
2. Adjust your diet to best serve your health needs.
Eating well contributes not just to heart health, but to overall health. There are some things you should eat more of, and some things to reserve just as special treats every now and then.
– Fruits and vegetables
– Whole grains
– Whole grains
– Red meat
– High-fat foods
– Added sugar
– High-sodium foods
3. Stay active.
Another thing you can do to stay healthy overall and reduce your risk of heart disease is to exercise regularly. Simply devoting 30 minutes of your day to getting your body moving can make a big difference. Go for a walk or run somewhere you enjoy being and invite a friend or family member to come along. Exercise doesn’t have to be overwhelming or intimidating. Just find what works best for you and make it a habit.