February marks the beginning of American Heart Month, and it's the perfect time to think about how to keep your heart healthy while staying healthy. blood pressure to you cholesterol level more. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for most races and ethnicities in the United States, and someone in the United States has a heart attack every 40 seconds.
Several Heart health indicators are best left to the experts, and others can be easily checked at home. Staying on top of your heart health can help you avoid problems or catch them early.
For the avoidance of doubt, it is recommended that you undergo regular heart tests by a specialist. But in the meantime, there are ways to monitor your own heart health from the comfort of your own home without special equipment. All it takes is a few minutes and a little math.
Here are two easy ways to measure your heart health at home without any equipment. Plus, learn about the most common signs and symptoms of heart disease to watch out for.
Let's try the stairs test
you I get out of breath when climbing stairsA 2020 study by the European Society of Cardiology found that heart health can be assessed by measuring the time it takes to walk up four flights of stairs.?
“If it takes you more than a minute and a half to walk up four flights of stairs, your health may not be optimal and you should consult your doctor,” says study author Jesús, a cardiologist at A Coruña University Hospital.・Dr. Peteiro explains. Spain.
The study compared the results of the stair test to more detailed medical tests for heart health, such as the treadmill test. The study found that 58% of patients who took more than 1.5 minutes to complete the stair test had “abnormal cardiac function during the treadmill test.” People who took less time to climb the stairs also had higher exercise capacity, which led to lower mortality rates.
Dr. Peteiro also authored a 2018 study in which more than 12,000 participants climbed three flights of stairs. Those who fail to do so right away are almost three times more likely to die from heart disease in the next five years (3.2% vs. 1.7%).
Of note, both studies included only people with symptoms of coronary artery disease. However, Dr. Peteiro said the stair test should work just as well in the general population when it comes to measuring athletic performance. Also, various types of step tests have long been used by medical professionals to assess heart and lung health.
Check your heart rate
your Heart rateDoctors and nurses often ask this value, also called pulse rate, during physical exams because it is a fundamental measurement of heart health. It's easy to measure at home without any equipment and provides valuable information about your heart and overall fitness.
Your heart rate naturally changes throughout the day depending on how hard you're working. For example, your heart beats faster during times of high stress or intense physical activity. When you are relaxed or asleep, your heart beats more slowly.
There are two types of heart rate that you can measure at home: resting heart rate and maximum heart rate. First, let's explain what each means. Now let's explain the measurement method.
resting heart rate
your “resting heart rate“It's your pulse when you're at rest, relaxed and stationary. Research shows that a high resting heart rate is associated with decreased physical fitness, increased blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart attack and death. ”
What is considered “low” or “normal” differs slightly from person to person. Generally, a healthy adult's heart rate ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute, but the range also varies by age. Here are the target resting heart rate ranges for different age groups:
Target resting heart rate
100 to 170 beats per minute (bpm)
maximum heart rate
In addition to your resting heart rate, you can also measure your heart rate during exercise. This shows how fast your heart beats when it's working really hard, and how close it is to your “maximum heart rate” (the highest your heart rate should ever rise). You can see what is happening. To get your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220.
In this case, lower is not necessarily better. According to the CDC, you should aim for 64% to 75% of your maximum heart rate during moderate-intensity exercise. Also, during intense exercise, your heart rate should be between 77% and 93% of your maximum heart rate.
Maximum heart rate is related to the amount of aerobic capacity your body has. Harvard Health reports that research has found that the higher your aerobic capacity, the less likely you are to have a heart attack or die.
How to measure heart rate at home
There are several places in your body where you can feel your pulse. One common and easily accessible location is the radial artery, or wrist.
Place your index and middle fingers on the inside of your opposite wrist and count how many heartbeats you feel in 15 seconds. Multiply this number by 4 to get your heartbeats per minute. (Starts counting from the beat and counts as 0.)
The best time to measure your resting heart rate is when you wake up in the morning and are still in bed.
To measure your heart rate while exercising, you need to stop briefly during exercise and measure your pulse.heart rate monitor and fitness tracker, If you have one (the most accurate readings come from a chest strap heart rate monitor).
Know the hidden signs of heart disease
Many people with cardiovascular disease are not diagnosed until it is too late. Here are some of the most common symptoms of heart attack, heart disease, heart failure, and other cardiovascular health conditions that require urgent attention, courtesy of the Mayo Clinic.
- Chest pain and pressure
- shortness of breath
- swelling of the hands, legs, ankles or feet
- upper back or back pain
- rapid or irregular heartbeat (or palpitations)
- Changes in heart rhythm
- Weakness or dizziness
- numbness in legs and arms
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Fatigue or weakness during physical activity
- heartburn, nausea or vomiting