3 Easy Steps to Maintaining a Healthy Heart
By Rachel S. Eidelman, M.D., Board Certified Cardiologist
Heart disease has become a national epidemic, affecting more than one in four people everyday. While many treatment options are available, prevention is always preferable. So take these three simple steps below for a healthier heart.
1. Learn Your Heart Health Risk
Know your blood pressure, cholesterol level and family history of heart disease. Diabetes is another major risk factor, giving patients the same risk of a heart attack as someone who’s already had one. Discuss all of these things with your doctor. He or she may suggest ways to help manage your risk factors, further testing, or refer you to a cardiologist.
2. Stay Heart Healthy with Diet and Exercise
A healthy diet is crucial. I tell patients to incorporate “good” carbs by choosing whole grains for foods such as bread, pasta or rice. They should avoid “white” processed foods. I also advise them to eat more “high-end” vegetables, such as broccoli or cauliflower. Another general rule for a healthier diet; pay attention to serving sizes. I also tell my patients to exercise for at least 20 minutes, six days a week. Make it fun by doing something you enjoy — play a sport, take a dance class, walk with a friend, or go swimming.
3. Stop Smoking, or Don’t Start
Don’t smoke, and if you do, quit. Cigarette smoking doubles your risk of heart disease. Quitting can greatly reduce your risk of a heart attack. Take the first steps toward a healthier heart. Talk to your doctor today about how you can help keep your heart healthy so you can lower your risk of heart disease, or a cardiac emergency, in the future.