Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, with one person dying from a heart disease related event every minute, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Fortunately, your lifestyle choices and actions can prevent or reverse your risk of developing heart disease.
How can you prevent heart disease? Dr. James Sioma, DO, ACOFP, offered these three tips to prevent heart disease and keep yourself healthy at any age.
Say yes to “real” foods
In a world where saturated fats, sweets, and sodium fill the aisles of every grocery store and restaurant menu, it’s important to become an educated consumer and a conscientious eater. The American Heart Association recommends you limit your intake of saturated fats like animal fats and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, in order to reduce the amount of harmful trans-fat in your diet.
Focus your diet on whole plant foods like fresh, frozen or canned vegetables and fruits, and on lean, organic meat choices like fish and chicken. Red meat and processed foods like candy, chips, and soda can contain harmful cholesterol and large amounts of trans fat, which create a buildup of plaque in your arteries and can lead to a heart attack.
Kick the smoking habit
With every puff of tobacco smoke, the vessels that supply blood to your heart become more and more damaged. Smoking stiffens your blood vessels and limits their ability to expand and contract as needed. Reducing the blood supply that your heart can receive from your vital arteries is what leads to strokes, angina, and heart attacks. In fact, smoking increases your risk of having a heart attack by 200 percent, according to the Heart Foundation.
Cut the habit and, within one year, your risk of a heart attack or stroke is sliced in half. After 5 to 15 years of living smoke-free, your risk of heart disease and stroke are at the level of someone who never smoked, according to the World Health Organization. Of course, quitting is easier when you have support, from a Tobacco Cessation program or even from your family and friends.
Keep your blood pumping
Prevent heart disease one step at a time, literally and figuratively. By going for a walk, jog, or run — anything that keeps you active for 30 minutes a day — you can significantly reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Cardiovascular exercises like these are excellent for strengthening your heart, blood vessels, and improving your blood pressure. Exercise as a part of your lifestyle — whether it’s vigorous or an after-dinner stroll — can also greatly reduce your stress levels.
Talking with your primary care provider through regular check-ups is also imperative, as it provides an opportunity to discuss risk factors that affect you specifically and ways to adopt and maintain heart-healthy habits to help prevent heart disease. Get to know our Medical Providers, or Contact Us to schedule an appointment today.