If you could follow five simple steps to help reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease in 2022, would you?
Cardiovascular disease, or heart disease, is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, with approximately one person succumbing to it every 26 seconds. Heart disease, if left untreated, can lead to serious, and even fatal, conditions such as PAD (peripheral artery disease), heart attack and stroke.
Vowing to better your overall health for this new year is a great resolution but resolving to improve your heart health specifically is an even better lifetime resolution.
1. Quit smoking and tobacco use.
Chemicals found in tobacco can be harmful to your heart and blood vessels by reducing oxygen in your blood and increasing blood pressure. Even if you have been a lifelong smoker or tobacco user, your heart and body will start to reap the benefits of quitting right away.
2. Get moving every day.
Aiming for some form of physical activity each day, and an overall 150 minutes per week, can help lower your risk for cardiovascular disease and other conditions that strain your heart such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. Even small bursts of activity can benefit your heart, like gardening, walking your dog, or choosing to take the stairs.
3. Maintain a healthy weight, and follow a heart-healthy diet.
Keep your weight in check and monitor your body mass index (BMI) to gauge whether you have an unhealthy percentage of body fat that can ultimately lead to heart damage. Reducing your weight can help decrease certain fats in your blood, lower blood sugar levels, and improve blood pressure and circulation.
Healthy foods that can contribute to better heart health include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Beans and legumes
- Fish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and sardines
- Natural fats found in olive oil and avocados
4. Manage stress, and get quality sleep.
Stress can wreak havoc on your heart leading to unhealthy habits like overeating, smoking, or alcohol consumption. Try meditation, exercise, or journaling as ways to channel stress and let off steam. Additionally, make sure you are logging at least seven hours of sleep at night to help your body relax and recharge.
5. Schedule regular health screenings
An annual physical exam can prevent conditions such as high blood pressure and cholesterol and lower your risk for cardiovascular disease. Routine screenings and regular visits with specialist providers for chronic conditions can help keep your health on track.
CTVS wishes everyone a happy – and heart healthy– new year!