Did you know February is heart month?
With heart disease being the leading cause of death in the US today, we wanted to ensure we focus on cardiovascular health and how to prevent heart disease actively.Every year, about 647,000 Americans die from heart disease, and it is also a significant cause of disability in the US. Most people know how severe heart disease is but don’t follow any precautions to maintain their heart health or believe they are doing enough. While there are risk factors we cannot control, like age, sex, race, and family history, there are plenty of factors we can influence to help keep our hearts healthy for years to come.
So, what can I do to lower my risk of heart disease now?
Lucky for you, there are many new habits you can adopt to lessen your chances of getting heart disease. Here are a few great starting points for a path to a healthier heart:
- Watch your blood pressure. High blood pressure is the most significant risk factor for developing heart disease. If you have a family medical history that includes high blood pressure or you currently struggle with high blood pressure, be sure to get your blood pressure checked regularly by a doctor or invest in a home device. For those not predisposed to high blood pressure, be sure to get your blood pressure checked yearly.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Having a BMI that falls into the overweight or obese categories increases your risk for developing heart disease. Having access fat, especially visceral fat, is dangerous for your heart. Adopt health habits like exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, prioritizing sleep, getting more steps in daily, and seeking professional help if needed.
- Make healthy choices when it comes to meals and snacks. Try to limit saturated fats, foods high in sodium, and avoid added sugars. Be sure to add in good fats from salmon and avocados, which are high in HDL (good cholesterol) to help fight LDL (bad cholesterol) and avoid foods with saturated and trans-fat and high cholesterol like fried foods. Fill your plate with lean proteins like fish or poultry. Snack on veggies and fruits for a healthy snack like apples and almond butter or carrots with hummus. Swap processed grains like white bread to healthy whole grains like sprouted bread.
- Limit alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol can negatively impact your health and raise your blood pressure and your risk of developing heart disease. Limit your alcohol consumption to one drink a day; your heart and waistline will thank you.
- Ditch the cigarettes. We all know how awful smoking is for our bodies. Smoking increases your chances for heart disease and a handful of other conditions as well. If you are a smoker, consider seeking professional help to quit.
- Manage stress. Stress has been linked to many different conditions and contributes to heart disease in multiple ways. Being under a lot of stress can raise your blood pressure which we already know is not good for our overall heart health. Additionally, being under constant or extreme stress can lead to unhealthy coping tactics such as overeating, excessive drinking, and smoking, which are all awful for your heart health. Some great ways to manage stress include meditation, exercising, journaling, acupuncture, or making lifestyle changes to help mitigate some of the stress. If you are struggling with stress management, consider speaking to a healthcare professional.
- Take control of diabetes. Having diabetes doubles your risk of diabetic heart disease. The high blood sugar from diabetes can damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart, leading to heart disease. If you have a family history of diabetes, it’s essential to get tested routinely before any serve damage occurs. Additionally, if you have diabetes, do your best to control your condition, so no chronic damage is done to your heart.
- Prioritize sleep. Sleep is an unsung hero, but many health factors depend on adequate sleep, and heart disease is no different. Aim for 7 to 9 hours of restful sleep per night. Practice good sleeping habits like not looking at phones before bed or having a set nighttime routine. Getting restful sleep aids in recovery, building the immune system, and resetting the body and the mind to perform its best. If you have frequent sleep problems, be sure to contact your health care provider.
- Talk to your doctor about heart medications. If you are taking all the proper steps but still need extra help, contact your doctor and ask about what medications are available to help reduce your chances of heart disease. Some medications your doctor might prescribe are:
- Rosuvastatin (Generic Crestor): this medication treats high cholesterol by decreaing LDL in your blood and reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Atorvastatin (Generic Lipitor): treats high cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Metoprolol: treats high blood pressure. It also prevents chest pain (angina) or further damage after a heart attack. It works by lowering your blood pressure and heart rate, making it easier for your heart to pump blood to the rest of your body.
- Lisinopril (Generic Zestril): is an ACE inhibitor which treats high blood pressure and decrease your chances of heart failure. It can treat heart damage after a heart attack.
- Valsartan (Generic Diovan): is an angiotensin II receptor blocker, which treats high blood pressure. It can also treat heart failure and heart damage after a heart attack.
GeniusRx is here to help you on your wellness journey.
It’s important to let things into your heart, but disease should never be one of them. With the help of GeniusRx, it doesn’t have to. Let us help you save on FDA-approved medications and ship them right to your door for free.