Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. The good news? Heart disease can often be prevented when people make heart healthy choices. To prevent heart disease and increase awareness of its effects, Null Chiropractic is proudly participating in American Heart Month.
You can make healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease. To lower your risk try the following.
Watch your weight.
Your heart is responsible for pumping blood throughout your body. The larger the body, the more blood the heart has to pump. That means adding on extra pounds above your normal weight stresses the heart muscles. Over time this damages the tissues and can lead to abnormal heart rhythms called arrhythmias.
Even losing a few pounds can have a profound impact on your heart health. Reducing your calories, especially from processed sugars, is one of the best ways to start tackling excess weight. There might be more hiding in your diet than you think.
Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
The chemicals in cigarettes, in addition to nicotine, can damage blood cells and vessels. Avoiding tobacco smoke is a great way to prevent heart disease. Don’t start smoking and if you do, quit.
For those that already have cardiovascular disease, quitting greatly reduces the risk of recurrent heart attack and cardiovascular death. In many studies, this reduction in risk has been 50 percent or more. This risk decreases soon after quitting and continues to decrease over time.
Control your blood pressure.
High blood pressure can damage your arteries, heart, brain, kidneys, and eye sight. Luckily, some heart healthy things are recommended as the first line of treatment for elevated blood pressure. Exercise, weight loss, and eating right are all recommended ways to naturally lower blood pressure.
If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
Long-term heavy drinking can cause high blood pressure and diseases of the heart muscles. Heavy and binge drinkers can also develop an irregular heartbeat, called atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation increases the risk of stroke, heart attack and heart failure.
The American Heart Association recommends no more than one drink per day for women and two for men.
Get active and eat healthy.
Exercise is important for all ages. Unfortunately, only one person in five get enough exercise to maintain good health. Even if you’re sedentary, you can start by sitting less and build up to regular aerobic activity. Heart healthy activity levels are 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity.
As you progress, adding a few days of strength training can be beneficial. There are also more heart benefits at 300 minutes per week of exercise. But it’s okay to work up to that amount.
In addition to weight loss, healthy eating can add many valuable nutrients to your body. The more natural and wholesome the food, the more heart healthy nutrients you will be getting. Fruits and vegetables provide a lot of fiber along with vitamins like magnesium and vitamin B3. Nuts and fish have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. All of these have been shown to aid in heart health.