Heart hazards and conditions can be tough news to receive and even harder to manage, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Do you feel overwhelmed by the road bumps that could lie ahead?
Take heart: A few preventative measures can reduce your overall cardiac risk and help keep your heart healthy for the long run.
“Prevention, rather than intervention, is key,” says Trieu Ho, M.D., an electrophysiologist on the medical staff at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Grapevine. To keep your heart functioning at top speed, follow this advice from our experts:
1. Know your numbers
Watch your cholesterol and blood pressure levels and keep them in a healthy range through medication, diet and exercise.
Find healthy ways to deal with stress, such as taking a stress management or yoga class or meditating?
3. Be active
“Shoot for 30 minutes of cardiovascular and strength training activity five days a week,” says Jake Chemmalakuzhy, M.D., an interventional cardiologist on the medical staff at Baylor Medical Center at Carrollton and Baylor Medical Center at Irving.
4. Stay slim
Get to your ideal weight and keep your body mass index in a healthy range.
5. Eat well
Focus on nutrient-dense, high-fiber foods like fresh produce, whole grains, beans and legumes, and limit foods that are high in salt, cholesterol and saturated fat.
6. Kick bad habits
Limit alcohol consumption, which can increase blood pressure, to one drink per day for women and two for men. And if you smoke, quit. “Smokers have twice the risk of heart attack as nonsmokers,” Dr. Ho adds.
This content originally appeared in the September 2013 edition of Baylor Health Magazine.