Follow these 9 tips to lower your risk of heart disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among Americans. Someone in the United States has a heart attack every 40 seconds. Heart disease statistics are frightening, but generally speaking, heart disease is preventable for people who don't have a history of heart disease.

However, there are challenges and some risk factors that cannot be changed, such as family history, gender, and age. Furthermore, some people do not have access to heart-healthy foods or do not have access to heart-healthy foods. see a doctor Gain insight into your current health status.

In most cases, the average person can significantly reduce their risk of heart disease with simple lifestyle changes, like the nine steps detailed here.

Our health tips don't end there.Check the tips helps stop drinking, Nutritional supplements that also act as sleep aids And that best foods to lower blood pressure.

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These lifestyle changes can significantly improve your heart health.

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1. Take a walk every day

Decades of research support that cardiovascular exercise is your first line of defense against heart disease. Walking is an easy and simple way to get aerobic exercise and can be done anywhere you have a treadmill, outdoors or indoors.

Research shows that walking can protect against heart disease risk, even though it's less intense than other aerobic exercises like hiking, jogging, and cycling. Additionally, research shows that compared to other types of exercise, walking is more effective in the long run, as more people stick to a walking regimen for long periods of time (any exercise is more effective if you don't stick with it). ).

You can do it anytime walk more vigorously If you want to further improve your health.

related: Best treadmills of 2022

2. Do strength training several times a week

Most research on heart health and exercise focuses on aerobic exercise, such as walking. Resistance training is another way to reduce your risk of heart disease, according to new research. In fact, a 2018 study found that lifting weights for less than an hour a week, unrelated to aerobic exercise, could reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke by up to 70%. , these results are even more important.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, this significant effect is likely related to changes in body composition caused by weightlifting. Weight training helps build muscle and reduce fat. Excess body fat is a major risk factor for heart disease, so any exercise that helps reduce body fat will help.

I don't need a gym flashy equipment To start strength training. bodyweight trainingExercises like air squats, push-ups, and lunges can provide similar strengthening effects at home.

3. Eat heart-healthy foods

Many delicious foods are directly linked to improved heart health. In general, a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, fish, and oils promotes heart health. If fresh produce is not available, frozen or canned fruits and vegetables are just as effective (watch your sodium intake when eating canned food).

4. Limit foods associated with heart disease

On the contrary, some foods are directly linked to heart disease. To reduce your risk of heart disease, limit high-fat and sugary foods, such as potato chips and commercial desserts. Highly processed foods, such as most fast foods, processed meats (such as hot dogs and cured meats), and boxed snacks such as Twinkies and crackers, also contain heart-harmful ingredients.

Specifically, watch out for trans fats (hydrogenated oils) and high fructose corn syrup. These two are the main ingredients that are not good for your heart.Trans fatty acids increase the number of “bad guys” cholesterol High fructose corn syrup contributes to several heart disease risk factors and comorbidities.

Side note: There's no need to fear saturated fat itself, as research has debunked the myth that only saturated fat causes heart disease. Many healthy foods, such as avocados and cheese, contain saturated fat. Processed foods are often high in saturated fat, but you should also be wary of trans fats and refined carbohydrates.

5. Quit smoking

It is now common knowledge that smoking has negative effects on health. Your heart is no exception. According to the Food and Drug Administration, smoking is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes.

Smoking negatively affects the cardiovascular system in several ways. Smoking causes plaque to build up in the arteries, changes blood chemistry and thickens the blood, and permanently damages the heart muscle and blood vessels. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says even the occasional cigarette can cause serious damage.

6. Limit alcohol intake

We're not saying you can't enjoy your favorite cocktail on game day, or that you shouldn't crack open a cold one, but we'd be remiss to not mention the effects of overdosing. alcohol consumption. Drinking too much generally has a negative effect on all systems of the body.

When it comes to heart health in particular, alcohol is associated with a variety of cardiovascular diseases, including high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease, and stroke. The exact relationship varies greatly depending on the amount and pattern of consumption.

The American Heart Association maintains that drinking alcohol in moderation is OK, but once you exceed that threshold (one drink a day for women, two drinks for men), things get worse. Also, the link between red wine and heart health is less clear.

7. Keep stress levels low

Although more research is needed to understand exactly how stress contributes to heart disease, scientists are observing a connection between stress and heart health. First, high levels of chronic stress can lead to unhealthy coping habits, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, and eating large amounts of high-fat or high-sugar foods. Stress also impairs the body's ability to rest and sleep.

Researchers have even identified a special and rare type of heart attack called Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, also known as stress cardiomyopathy or “broken heart syndrome.” Although this condition is associated with psychological trauma, many patients with this condition do not exhibit a specific cause.

Don't underestimate the impact stress has on your heart. Stress is inevitable, and sometimes it can't be avoided, but there are things you can do to reduce it. How to relieve stress Someone you can rely on in times of extreme pressure.

8. Prioritize sleep

If there's a silver bullet, it's probably sleep, and a close cousin of it is exercise. Scientists have identified sleep deprivation as a risk factor for heart disease because of the inverse relationship between sleep duration and cardiovascular disease. Shorter sleep duration appears to increase the risk of cardiovascular events.

Insomnia and sleep apnea have also been linked to heart disease, and sleep duration and sleep quality appear to have a direct impact on blood pressure. Indirectly, lack of sleep makes people's food choices worse and reduces their motivation to exercise, both of which increase the risk of heart disease.

read more: Why you should skip your workout if you're not getting enough sleep

9. See your doctor and keep track of your health records

If possible, schedule an annual checkup with your doctor to make sure all is well.

Blood tests that check cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, and other important health markers can help you closely monitor your heart health. If you don't have a primary care physician, call your local urgent care or walk-in clinic to see if they offer basic blood tests. at least, check blood pressure and home monitor Show how you are doing. track health records This allows you to identify changes and patterns over time.

If signs of heart disease appear, there's nothing to fear ask your doctor. Be sure to understand what the numbers mean, what changes you need to make to your lifestyle, and whether you need medication. Advocating for your own health will get you further.

Want more health tips? Read here How to cure an upset stomach naturally, 8 tips to help you quit smoking and How 15 minutes a day can improve your health.

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