Although heart disease is a leading cause of death, it doesn’t have to be your own fate. There are ways that you can prevent heart disease and any future damage to your health and your heart. Today, we’ll explore different ways that you can incorporate healthy habits into your lifestyle that will prevent heart disease.
- Get more sleep
Sleep is very important to your overall health. Lack of sleep can lead to major health complications, including heart disease and diabetes. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. If you wake up without your alarm clock and you feel refreshed, you’re getting enough sleep. But, if you’re constantly reaching for the snooze button and it’s a struggle to get out of bed, you need more sleep each night. Set a sleep schedule and stick to it. Thankfully, there are many apps out there that help you to set and stick to your sleep schedule.
- Stop Smoking
If you’re a smoker, quit immediately. Smoking is one of the more deadly habits a person can have. Smoking is also a leading factor in heart disease. Chemicals in tobacco may damage your heart and blood vessels, leading to narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Atherosclerosis can ultimately lead to a heart attack. The more you smoke, the greater the risk. The good news is that when you quit smoking, your risk of heart disease and can drop to that of a non-smoker is just 5 years. No matter how long you’ve been a smoker, you can enjoy the benefits of quitting almost immediately.
- Aim for a Heart-Healthy Diet
One of the key factors in preventing heart disease is sustaining a healthy diet. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help protect your heart. Beans, other low-fat sources of protein and certain types of fish also can reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Be active for 30 minutes a day on most days
These days, we all have crazy schedules. However, it’s important to make time for yourself. Just 30 minutes a day, on most days, can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease. The payoff only increases when you include physical activity with lifestyle measures, like eating healthy and refraining from smoking. Aim for 30-60 minutes of moderately intense activity most days of the week. However, it’s important to note that activities such as cleaning, walking stairs, or walking the dog can all add up to your 30 minutes of activity.
- See your doctor
Annual screenings are important to ensure that you’re maintaining the proper weight, and your heart is performing, as it should. Just as important as regular health screenings, it’s also important to have a good understanding of your risk for diabetes. If your weight is normal and you don’t have other risk factors for type 2 diabetes, the American Diabetes Association recommends starting screening at age 45, and then retesting every three years.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight, or carrying excess weight around your middle can increase your chances of heart disease. Excess weight can lead to conditions that increase your chances of heart disease — high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.