February is Heart Month which makes it the perfect time to start getting serious about your heart’s health. Caring for your heart’s health is important at any age–even for young adults. In fact, a 2019 study by Brigham and Women’s Hospital showed that heart attacks are on the rise in young people under 40. The good news is, you can improve your heart’s health by making changes to your diet and lifestyle.
Stop Smoking and Avoid Secondhand Smoke
We don’t have to tell you that smoking is bad for your health. But did you know it’s not just your lungs that are affected by smoking? Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke are directly linked to increased chances of a stroke or heart attack. Today smokers have more help than ever to kick the habit. Your provider can prescribe medication to help you quit and connect you with support groups to motivate you to quit. Visit www.quit.com for free help.
We wrote about why experts say sitting is the new smoking awhile back in our blog. Among the many health issues including an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, aka heart disease. Thankfully, the solution to sitting disease is to put your body in motion. Get at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise per day and if you have a desk job, take short, 1-2 minute breaks every half-hour instead of taking two 15 minute breaks per day. This change can reduce your sitting time at work by 15 to 66 minutes a day.
Exercise doesn’t have to mean getting on the treadmill or heading to the gym, although these are great ways to get in your workouts. If the gym and traditional workouts aren’t your things, try activities like bike riding, walks through the neighborhood, gardening, walking your dog, taking the stairs, and even standing up during phone calls.
Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet
Your diet has a bigger effect on your health than many other factors. Swap out trans fat foods for foods with healthy fats and heart-healthy nutrients. You can’t go wrong with a diet filled with fruits, veggies, nuts, whole grains and healthy proteins. Ask your provider what kind of diet is right for you.
Manage and Reduce Stress
You can’t always get rid of stressful situations in life but you can learn how to cope with stress better. Yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises are great daily practices that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety. Try incorporating one or all of these exercises into your daily routine.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Lack of sleep is linked to a number of health problems including an increased risk for heart disease. Adults who sleep less than six hours a night are twice as likely to suffer a stroke or heart attack. You should get at least six to nine hours of sleep each night.
Practice Good Dental Hygiene
Your dental health doesn’t only affect your mouth’s health, it impacts your overall health including your heart health as well. Gum disease is linked to a greater risk for heart disease and other potentially deadly conditions. Certain studies have repeatedly shown that the bacteria associated with gum disease can travel to the bloodstream and elevate the amount of C-reactive protein, a protein linked to inflammation in the blood cells. Avoid gum disease by brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting your dentist regularly for routine checkups and cleanings.
Your dentist isn’t the only provider to visit to keep a check on your heart health. In addition to implementing heart-healthy habits, you should also schedule yearly wellness visits with your healthcare provider. During these checkups, your provider will perform tests to detect silent signs of heart risks and other serious health conditions. EliteCare is conveniently open seven days a week so you never have to miss a visit with your provider because of work or school. No appointment is necessary, just drop by our clinic during regular business hours.