Did you know…
- each year, approximately 758,000 Americans will have their first heart attack
- each year, approximately 470,000 Americans will have another heart attack
- every 39 seconds, someone dies from heart disease and stroke
- every 25 seconds, an American will have a coronary event
How can you avoid becoming part of one of these statistics?
99% of Americans need to improve their heart health. Why don’t they? Because they think that there is nothing they can do about it. But they are wrong!
Your cardiac health is in your hands and there are 3 simple ways you can improve it and prevent heart attacks and other heart-related issues.
1 – Don’t smoke or use any tobacco-related products
Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your heart health. Need help? Many hospitals, healthcare companies, and even employers offer programs to help break the addiction to nicotine. You can also try nicotine patches, gum, or lozenges. There are also many online resources available.
Visit smokefree.gov for support and great information about how to quit your habit and stay quit.
2 – Maintain a healthy weight
The fact remains that a well-balanced diet and regular exercise are the keys to staying physically fit. But you don’t need to start counting calories or training for a marathon.
According to the mayoclinic.com, a heart-healthy diet means:
- controlling portion sizes (using smaller plates and bowls at meals makes this easier)
- make sure you eat more fruits and vegetables than high-calorie foods (i.e. meat, cheese and snacks)
- choose whole grains whenever possible (avoid white flour, cornbread, egg noodles, quick breads, high-fat crackers)
- limit unhealthy fats to reduce your blood cholesterol (trim the fat off of meat or choose meats with less than 10% fat, use less butter, limit desserts such as cakes, pies, cookies, etc)
- increase low-fat protein sources (lean meats, poultry, fish, and eggs are great sources of protein)
- reduce salt intake (it’s not just what you add to your food as a seasoning, many processed and canned foods have a high salt content – eat fresh foods is the best way to ensure you are not taking in too much salt)
Regular exercise is as simple as making sure that you are physically active for 30-60 min a day. If you work at a desk all day and don’t have time to make it to the gym or work out at home, make a point of taking a walk on your lunch break. Anything to get your body moving and your blood pumping!
3 – Manage your stress levels
Stress comes at us from all directions. Unfortunately, many people are so accustomed to living in high-stress environments that they don’t even realize how abnormal and unhealthy their stress levels are until it is much too late.
A cardiac stress test is a cardiological test that measures the heart’s ability to respond to external stress in a controlled clinical environment. Find out how your heart is handling your stress and take the steps need to manage it before you experience severe consequences. Something a simple as getting more quality sleep can greatly reduce the amount of stress on your heart health.
Simple doesn’t mean EASY, but your heart health matters and it is in your hands!
Make the lifestyle changes you need to make today so that you will have a healthy heart tomorrow and prevent a heart attack in the years to come.