By Dr. A. Peraino, Internist & AMEC Member
Heart disease is not inevitable. Once you understand the risk factors associated with your family history and your lifestyle, there are many preventive strategies you can rely on to reduce your risk level. Get your entire family involved, one is never too young or too old to care about one’s heart health! You will be amazed how fast a bit of common sense and new daily habits can significantly impact your wellness. As a physician, I recommend those 7 heart healthy choices:
- Manage your blood pressure with diet, exercise and medications, if needed. Elevated blood pressure strains your heart, kidney and blood vessels and therefore increases your risk of stroke, heart disease, and kidney disease.
- Reduce your cholesterol levels and prevent the development of atherosclerosis in the vessels. Optimal management may include dietary, lifestyle or medication options.
- Reduce your blood sugar. High blood sugar levels can lead to diabetes and contribute to heart disease as well as kidney, nerve and eye damage. Work with a nutritionist to improve your diet and eliminate habits that can contribute to diabetes, in particular the consumption of processed food.
- Stop smoking or vaping: even smoking 1 cigarette per day increases your risk of heart disease. There are tools and medications to help you quit, talk to your doctor today about smoking and vaping cessation.
- Follow a heart healthy diet to prevent disease and improve your health. CHLI recommends the Mediterranean Diet to help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Focus on lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy.
- Get active! Daily exercise improves quality of life, reduces weight, and decreases stress. Try our 7 min yoga routine to start or end your day. Consistent aerobic exercise improves fitness levels and reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Lose weight to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. When you reduce your BMI, you lower your risk of developing diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and heart disease – it’s a win every way you look at it!
Need some coaching? There are many ways to stay on track, get renewed motivation and find joy in practicing those healthy choices. I recommend journaling your progress for at least a month, until some choices become solid habits, and start your day with some natural supplements to boost your wellness such as therapeutic grade tablets. Choose a partner for each major change or new activity and make it fun: invite someone to go on a walk with, or to go food shopping and share menu ideas, to remind you of your doctor’s appointment or to get lab work, and most importantly to celebrate your progress with you. Community resources and reputable associations are also great resources for ongoing support and learning.
Reference Source: https://www.goredforwomen.org/en/
February is American Heart Month and Go Red for Women is the American Heart Association’s national movement to end heart disease and stroke in women.