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Give your ticker a boost with these heart health tips

Give your ticker a boost with these heart health tips

When it comes to heart disease, you can control many risk factors. If you’re looking to give your heart a boost, these heart health tips are a good place to begin.

Heart disease, which is actually a group of conditions affecting the heart, is very common among Americans. In fact, it’s the leading cause of death among both men and women in Louisiana. Around the country, nearly 700,000 people died of some type of heart disease in 2022 alone.

The good news is: The Touro team has recommendations about the steps you can take to lower your risk and protect your heart.

Understanding your risk of heart disease

Many Americans are at risk of developing heart disease, with nearly half having at least one of three major risk factors: high blood pressure, high cholesterol or smoking.

Some risk factors are beyond your control. This includes being 55 or older if you’re a woman or 45 or older if you’re a man, having a history of preeclampsia, and having a family history of early heart disease.

Most other risk factors are things you can control, meaning you can take steps to mitigate or eliminate them. These changeable risk factors include:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Being physically inactive
  • Eating a diet high in processed foods, saturated fat, sodium and added sugar
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Having high cholesterol
  • Having prediabetes or diabetes
  • Smoking

Knowing your risk factors for heart disease is a good first step. Once you know your risk, you can take steps to improve your heart health.

5 heart health tips

Giving your heart health a boost doesn’t have to be complicated.

1. Get moving. Regular physical activity is important for your heart. Experts recommend fitting in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week. It doesn’t really matter what activity you choose, as long as it gets your heart pumping faster, so briskly walk, jog, hike, swim or dance to your heart’s content!

2. Fill your plate wisely. Aim for a heart healthy diet packed with vegetables and fruits. Half of your plate at meals should contain those antioxidant-filled foods, with the other half containing a portion of lean protein (chicken, turkey, fish, tofu or eggs, for example) and whole grains, supplemented by healthy fat. What you skip may be just as important—minimize your intake of foods with saturated fat, added sugar and excess sodium.

3. Keep an eye on your health. Visit your primary care provider each year for a checkup, blood pressure testing and lab work to gauge your health. If you have conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, work with your provider to effectively manage those conditions using medications as needed. Since diabetes and high blood pressure and cholesterol are all risk factors for heart disease, it’s important to keep them in a healthier range.

4. Kiss smoking goodbye. Smoking damages your blood vessels over time. This can limit their ability to get blood to and from your heart. If you smoke, talk with your provider about tools to help you quit, or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to find support resources.

5. Find healthy ways to manage stress. We know, easier said than done! Everyone experiences stress at some time or another, but too much stress or stress that lingers can damage your health. Don’t turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as eating fast food or smoking a cigarette when you’re stressed. Instead, find better ways to feel better—meditation, exercise, prayer or a hobby are all good ideas.

Want to add on to these healthy habits? Try limiting your alcohol consumption, getting plenty of quality sleep and maintaining a healthy weight.

When your heart is at stake, you want experts in compassionate care close to home. Trust Touro’s heart and vascular team to provide that.