A Healthy Heart

Taking preventative steps against heart-related diseases is one of the most important ways to keep a healthy heart. Keeping up with the following tips along with what a doctor has suggested will help to improve the quality of life.

Control Blood Pressure - Have a primary care physician check blood pressure at least once a year to look out for hypertension or hypotension. Some physicians may suggest more frequent checks if the patient’s blood pressure is too far one way or the other from the recommended range. The recommended blood pressure range is 90-119 systolic over 60-79 diastolic.

Keep a Close Watch on Cholesterol – Have a doctor perform a baseline cholesterol test every five years to make sure cholesterol levels are where they should be. Make sure these tests are done more frequently if cholesterol ranges are too high or too low. Most people should aim for an LDL (low density lipoprotein or “bad cholesterol”) level of under 130 milligrams per deciliter or 3.4 millimoles per liter. For those who have already had a heart attack or have diabetes, the target LDL level should be below 70 milligrams per deciliter.

Take Charge of Diabetes – Keep track of blood sugar levels by having a strict diet and regularly testing your blood as well as taking insulin. Sometimes cases of diabetes occur because individuals are overweight. By losing weight often times people rid themselves of the disease and are able to avoid taking some medications.

A Healthy Diet – A diet focused on fruits, vegetables and whole grains will help to stop weight gain and also keep blood pressure and cholesterol in check. Refrain from eating saturated fats as well as foods with high levels of cholesterol and sodium. Obesity greatly increases the risk for heart diseases, so keeping an appropriate BMI and percentage body fat is strongly encouraged.

Exercise – Getting up and being active helps in numerous ways; such as lowering weight, reducing cholesterol and high blood pressure as well as controlling diabetes. Check with a primary care physician to see what amount of exercise is appropriate because, with some heart conditions, certain exercises may not be safe. Even starting with a short, brisk walk for ten to fifteen minutes a day will help increase stamina and soon exercise will become easier and more enjoyable.

Hygiene – Remembering to wash hands and clean surrounding areas is vital to staying healthy. Avoiding sickness is very important because viruses and infections can compromise the health of your heart.

Stress Watch – If stress levels are kept down, the heart does not have to work as hard and, therefore, there is less of a chance that the heart will go into an overactive state. Try deep breathing and muscle relaxation accompanied by a gentle yoga routine. This routine will help to slow the heartbeat and the body.

It can be difficult to deal with heart disease or to see someone going through the difficulties related. There are options such as cardiac rehabilitation and support groups that will ease the stress and demand on those dealing with the issue. These options offer counseling, education on lifestyle choices and information on what steps to take toward a healthier individual. The most important bit of information is to continue checking in with a primary care physician. This will give updates on how the heart and body are responding to the new lifestyle and what needs to be done next.