February is unofficially known as the month for love. At OneSource, we’re focusing on love, too. More specifically, the heart. Unfortunately, heart disease is a leading cause of death – with many static factors like family history, sex and age – but that doesn’t mean you have to accept it as your fate. There are many practical ways you can help prevent heart disease, including these from the doctors at OneSource:
- Don’t Smoke or Use Tobacco
- No matter what type of smoking – smokeless tobacco, low-tar and low-nicotine cigarettes, and even secondhand smoke – when it comes to heart disease prevention, no amount (or kind) of smoking is safe. If you do smoke though, there is good news – your risk decreases as soon as you quit and improves over time.
- Exercise & Maintain a Healthy Weight
- It’s important to get regular exercise for overall health, not just to reduce your risk for heart disease. Physical activity not only controls weight, but also controls high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes – all conditions that put a strain on your heart. If you’re new to an exercise routine, don’t worry. You don’t have to exercise strenuously to reap benefits. Start off with brisk walking for 30 minutes on most days, then add in two or more days of strength training.
- Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet
- It’s difficult to work off a bad diet. To see an even greater payoff when aiming for heart health, combine physical activity with a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains to protect your heart. It’s also important to limit foods high in salt and processed sugar and avoid saturated and trans fats.
- Get Quality Sleep
- It may seem simple, but getting less than quality sleep can harm your body. People who don’t get enough sleep have a higher risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes and depression. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. If you set a sleep schedule and stick to it, but still feel tired throughout the day, talk to your doctor.
- Get Regular Health Screenings
- It’s hard to know if you have heart-damaging conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol without regular testing. Depending on your risk factors, your doctor will be able to determine how often and early you should have blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol level screenings.
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