You can help reduce your risk for heart disease or heart attack by making lifestyle changes. Be sure to talk to your doctor about how the following lifestyle changes apply to you and may help you on your way to a healthier heart.
Lowering Your Cholesterol
Eat a low fat diet with the "right" fat and limit dietary cholesterol. Eat a variety of healthy foods and exercise to maintain a healthy weight. Limit your intake of beverages with alcohol.
Lowering Your Blood Pressure
In addition to exercising on a regular basis to keep a healthy weight, it is important to eat less salt (sodium) containing items. Fruits, vegetables and dairy are a good way to add good blood pressure lowering minerals (potassium and calcium) to your diet.
Reducing Body Fat
Talk to your doctor first and set a realistic goal that is right for you. Make a commitment to yourself to reduce calories you eat and increase calories you burn. This is the formula for losing weight and gaining a healthier you!
Controlling Your Diabetes
Don't forget that people with diabetes are 2-4 times more likely to have heart disease or stroke. Diabetes can not be cured, but it can be controlled with proper nutrition, weight control, exercise and medication. Keep your routine doctor's appointments and attend a diabetes education program. This will teach you to know the carbohydrate content of the foods you eat and control the portion sizes in your diet.
Get active. Regular aerobic exercise can improve the way you look, feel and work, and build up your muscles, including your heart. Talk to your doctor to determine what activities are right for you. Remember, to warm up your muscles before any activity, keep your movements smooth and easy, carry identification with you and if you walk, walk with a buddy for safety and company.
Remember, improving your health doesn't necessarily take a lot of time, but it takes, creativity and commitment to making small changes in your current lifestyle for a healthier, happier future.
Kick the smoking habit
The U.S. Surgeon General states that "smoking is the most important of the known modifiable risk factors for coronary heart disease (Source: AHA)." If you don't smoke, don't start, and if you are currently a cigarette smoker, talk to your doctor or health care provider to learn about the harmful effects of continued smoking and ways to quit. You are not alone--the team at INTEGRIS Heart Hospital is concerned about the negative effects of cigarette smoking and would like to help you to better health.