Heart health plays a key role in both longevity and quality of life. Unfortunately, heart disease is a leading cause of death. While it can impact anyone due to genetics, you can significantly reduce your risk with just a few steps. Learn more about risk factors for heart disease and how to improve heart health below.
Risk Factors Associated With Heart Disease
Heart disease can impact anyone, but some factors increase the risk, including but not limited to:
- Being overweight or obese
- Not being active
- Eating unhealthily
- Having high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol
Additionally, if a direct relative has or had heart disease, your risk is higher.
Reducing Your Risk and Improving Heart Health
There are several steps that you can take to improve your heart health, including those below.
- Eat a healthier diet: Add fruits and vegetables to your diet while reducing fatty meats, salt, and sugary snacks.
- Be more active: Getting 150 minutes of physical activity each week can help you shed excess weight and improve blood circulation. This doesn’t all need to be done in a gym, though. Cardiovascular expert Dr. Ian Weisberg recommends using a variety of activities to help with consistency. This can be anything from playing sports to swimming or bicycling.
- Drop the cigarettes: Smoking is harmful but a tough habit to quit. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help.
- Drink more water: Water helps blood circulate more easily, which reduces strain on the heart. Swapping even some of your daily sugary and caffeine-filled products for water can be highly beneficial.
- Keep a check on medical conditions: If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or any other condition that impacts the heart, it’s vital that you manage it well.
- Making so many changes in your life can seem overwhelming and hopeless. However, you don’t have to make too many drastic changes at once.
You can start by just working on a habit or two each week and let them build onto one another. For example, in week one, you might swap a late-night sugary snack for a piece of fruit and switch one soda each day for water. In week two, you could continue these habits while adding a 15-minute walk to your day.
By making small changes each week over several weeks or months, you can eventually achieve your heart health goals without too much stress or pressure. As such, it increases the likelihood of you sticking with your new heart-healthy habits.