You can control your heart disease or even prevent it by making certain changes in lifestyle. The following recommendations can help anyone who wants to have a healthier heart:
1. Quit smoking. Smoking puts you at a much higher risk of developing and dying from heart disease, especially atherosclerosis. The toxins found in cigarette smoke can cause blood clots and irregular heart rhythms. Quitting is the best way to lower your risk of heart disease and its complications.
2. Control your blood pressure. Ask your doctor for a blood pressure measurement at least every two years. He or she may determine whether you should take steps to lower their blood pressure or recommend more frequent measurements if your blood pressure is too high or you have a history of heart disease. Concern starts when blood pressure reaches 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, as measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).
3. Check your cholesterol. Studies indicate that there is a strong link between having high cholesterol and developing heart disease. Thus, take a baseline cholesterol test at least every five years starting at age 20. You’re recommended to start having a cholesterol test even earlier if your family has a history of heart disease. If your test results aren’t within desirable ranges, you may have to perform more frequent measurements.
Normal people should aim for an LDL level below 130 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or 3.4 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). If you have other risk factors for heart disease, you should aim for an LDL below 100 mg/dL (2.6 mmol/L). If you’re at very high risk of heart disease — if you’ve already had a heart attack or have diabetes, for instance — aim for an even lower LDL level — below 70 mg/dL (1.8 mmol/L).
4. Keep diabetes under control. If you have diabetes, tight blood sugar control can help reduce the risk for or delay the development of cardiovascular diseases.
5. Take regular exercises. Exercise helps you keep a healthy weight and control many risk factors for heart disease heart diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. If you have a heart arrhythmia or heart defect, there may be some restrictions on the activities you can do, so discuss with your doctor.
Try to schedule physical activity at the same time every day as a regular part of your lifestyle.
6. Eat a heart-healthy diet. Following a healthy diet is recommended as dietary changes can positively impact cholesterol levels, blood pressure and weight. A heart-healthy diet that is high in fiber based on whole grain foods, fresh fruits and vegetables and beans — and low in saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium and added sugar — can help you control your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol.
7. Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight heightens your risk of heart disease. A BMI of less than 25 and a waist circumference of 35 inches (88.9 centimeters) or less is desirable figures for preventing and treating heart disease.
8. Minimize stress. Ease stress as much as possible. Take 15 to 20 minutes a day to sit quietly, breathe deeply and think of a peaceful scene. Or try a class in yoga or meditation (talk to your doctor first).
9. Deal with depression. Being depressed can raise your risk of heart disease dramatically. Talk to your doctor if you feel hopeless or morose in your life.
10. Practice good hygiene. Avoid exposing yourself to people with infectious diseases such as colds, get vaccinated against the flu, regularly wash your hands, and brush and floss your teeth regularly to keep yourself well.
Also, get regular health exams and tests. Early detection and treatment can help you have a lifetime of better heart health.