Your heart works hard for you, so it’s a good idea to show it some love back. Doing so can prevent major health problems down the road.
It doesn’t take a lot of time or an expensive gym membership, either. Simply commit to a healthy lifestyle using the tips below, and you’ll be on the way to beating heart disease and stroke.
What are the signs of heart disease?
- High blood pressure – when the heart has to work harder than normal to pump blood through the body.
- Coronary artery disease – when plaque (fat and cholesterol) build up in blood vessels and lowers blood flow to the heart.
- Heart failure – when the heart can’t pump enough blood through the body.
- Not normal heartbeats – when a heart beats faster or slower than normal.
10 Tips for Heart Health
Good news! Here are 10 tips that can help you lead a healthy lifestyle.
- Eat a healthy diet: A healthy diet has whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, and some lean meat, chicken or fish. Cut back salt, sugar, and fats in your diet.
- Keep a healthy weight: Lose extra weight to help lower your blood pressure and cut your risk for heart disease. Talk to your doctor about a healthy weight for you.
- Stay active: Be active for 30 minutes every day. It helps you keep a healthy weight. It also lowers your risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Talk to your doctor about the minutes you need to be active.
- Reduce your stress: Stress can affect your mood and lead to smoking, drinking alcohol, or eating too much. To limit your stress talk to a friend, take a walk, listen to music, garden, or do any other activity that makes you feel good.
- Quit smoking: Stop smoking to lower your risk for a heart attack and stroke. Talk to you doctor about counseling or medication to help you quit.
- Limit alcohol: Cut back on alcohol intake to prevent weight gain, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Never mix alcohol with any medication.
- Control your blood pressure: High blood pressure can put extra strain on your heart. Exercise every day. Eat a healthy diet low in salt. Check your blood pressure often. Take your blood pressure medication or aspirin as ordered by your doctor.
- Lower your cholesterol level: Waxy build-up can block blood flow through the heart and blood vessels. Eat a diet that is high in fiber and low in fat. Take your medication as ordered by your doctor.
- Manage your diabetes: High sugar in the blood raises your risk of heart disease. Weight control, healthy eating, active living, and medications can help keep your blood sugar level normal.
- Take your medications as ordered: People with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease need to take medications or aspirin daily. Keep track of how much and when you should take your medications. Use a pill case if you need help to stay on track.
See your doctor at least once a year to help you stay healthy. Check your blood pressure and talk with your doctor about the medication you are taking. Ask your doctor if you need any blood tests to make sure your heart and kidneys are working well. Call your doctor to ask for your yearly blood test today!
To learn more about heart health and Health Net’s health education programs and services, call the Health Education Information Line at 1-800-804-6074 (TTY: 711).