Men and women, young and old, black and white... it doesn't matter. Heart disease affects us all. And it's never too late to turn your heart around or to put your prevention plan into action. Here are 5 ways to make that happen now, starting with the most significant risk factor for heart disease.
#1 Get your blood pressure in check
“If you have a history of high blood pressure, which is about 35% of the population to get to your doctor to make sure that we're actually making an effort to control blood pressure,” said Dr. Tom Bartlett with Mountain View Medical Center. “Because that's one of the major risk factors associated with heart disease.”
#2 Get your cholesterol under control
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), cholesterol comes from two sources: 75% comes from your liver and other cells. The other 25% comes from what you eat. The AHA says on its website, “To get the nutrients you need, choose foods like vegetables, fruits, whole-grain products and fat-free or low-fat dairy products most often. “
That brings us to our next item.
#3 Eat smarter/less
“Portions have grown larger and larger as we go to restaurants, even at home sometimes,” says Dr. Bartlett. “So we're sort of used to eating more.”
And speaking of more... that goes along with the next way to turn our hearts around.
#4 Move more
We have to, because the obesity rate is climbing.
“It doesn't have to be trying to train for a marathon,” says Dr. Bartlett. “It can be getting up, walking, simple things - using the stairs.”
And finally, something that decreases your tolerance for physical activity like the stairs...
#5 Stop smoking
It's an issue Dr. Bartlett says is a concern for younger and younger people.
“High school children actually are showing that there's a significant increased incidence of tobacco abuse - almost 20 percent of that population are actually using tobacco,” he said.
These are just 5 elements to a plan you should map out with your doctor, taking into consideration your risk factors and family history. But remember - it is possible to turn your heart around!
For more ways to improve your heart, check out the link to Life's Simple 7 plan from the American Heart Association. You can also get heart healthy ideas for your diet from the Mayo Clinic. Both of those links are below: