More than 30 million Americans have heart disease, the most common cause of death for both women and men. In fact, the CDC says that of every four deaths in the United States, one is due to heart disease.
Heart disease includes a variety of problems that affect the heart, including infections, congestive heart failure, and coronary artery disease (CAD) — the most common type of heart disease. But there is some good news: There are steps you can take to reduce your risk of heart disease — simple steps you can incorporate into your routine starting today.
In honor of American Heart Month, the team at Phoenix Heart, PLLC, offers these tips to help you lower your risk of heart disease and enjoy better heart health as you get older.
7 tips for lowering heart disease risk
Our doctors offer a variety of cutting-edge treatments for patients with heart disease, with each treatment tailored to the specific disease and individual patient. In addition to following your own custom treatment plan, you can reduce your heart disease risks by following these tips.
#1: Ditch tobacco
Smoking takes a big toll on your heart health and your circulation, increasing your risk of developing atherosclerosis (“hardening” of the arteries) and coronary artery disease. Smoking also impairs lung function, making it harder for oxygen to get into your bloodstream and reach your heart.
#2: Drop those extra pounds
Excess weight puts extra strain on your heart muscle, which means your heart has to work harder every time it beats. When it comes to the heart benefits of weight loss, even a few pounds helps. If you’re overweight, losing just 5-10% of your weight could substantially improve your heart health, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).
#3: Stay active
Your heart is a muscle, and that means it gets stronger with regular use. One of the best ways to keep your heart strong is to get regular aerobic exercise — at least a half-hour five days a week, according to the AHA. Before beginning any exercise routine, schedule a heart checkup to make sure your heart is ready for the challenge.
#4: Focus on fiber
Fiber keeps you feeling full longer, which aids in maintaining a healthy weight. Plus, it can decrease your risk of arterial plaques and atherosclerosis. When planning meals, look for ways to incorporate more fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, and whole grains to boost your fiber intake all day long.
#5: Avoid unhealthy fats
Unhealthy fats may increase cholesterol levels, along with your risk of arterial plaques. When cooking, opt for healthy oils, like olive or avocado. Try to consume some foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, tuna, and walnuts. These foods may actually help decrease levels of unhealthy cholesterol.
#6: Know your numbers
If you’re like most people, you have a pretty good idea of your weight — but there’s a really good chance you don’t know your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers. High blood pressure and high cholesterol are major risk factors leading to heart disease, so keeping track of these numbers is very important, especially as you get older.
#7: Be proactive
Other underlying medical problems, like diabetes and depression, can also have an impact on your heart health. Playing an active role in managing those conditions is also important for lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease. Work closely with your doctors to make sure your treatments stay on track with your evolving needs.
Celebrate your heart this month by scheduling a heart health evaluation at one of our practices in Glendale, Goodyear, Anthem, or Canyon City, Arizona. To book your appointment, call Phoenix Heart or schedule your visit online today.