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Heart-Healthy Strategies: 7 Ways to Take Charge of Your Heart Health

  • Category: Heart Health
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Tammy Nunez
Heart-Healthy Strategies: 7 Ways to Take Charge of Your Heart Health

There are some aspects of heart attack and stroke risk you can’t control. However, the good news is that there are seven strategies  that can help you reduce your risk for heart-related health problems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has outlined seven “controls” anyone can take to help reduce risk. 

  1. History Lessons: Knowing your family's health history gives you a leg up on potential risks to your heart health. Be aware of any health conditions your parents, aunts and uncles have had or that they know of from grandparents and great-grandparents. Knowing that you might be at risk for a heart attack or stroke allows you to be proactive about strategies to reduce your chances or the severity of chronic, hereditary conditions. Sharing that information with your physicians gives your closest health advocates the ammunition they need to help keep you healthy. 

Dr. Jose Mena, North Oaks Cardiovascular Institute

  1. Healthy Diet: There are no surprises here: Diet is one of the biggest risk factors and the one thing you have the most control over. Evidence shows that increasing lean protein and having a variety of vegetables in your diet decrease your risk for a host of chronic diseases. Consuming too much saturated fat and processed foods puts your heart at risk.  

  1. Move More, Sit Less: Your heart is a muscle that gets stronger when you move. The less you move, the weaker it gets, increasing the risk for disease. You don’t have to run a marathon every day to be more active. Focus on incremental increases in movement each day. That by itself can increase your health. 

  1. Quit Smoking: Smoking increases your risk of heart attack and stroke. Quitting smoking even after years of the habit can increase your heart health. 

  1. Medication Monitoring: Taking prescribed medications as directed is key to staying heart healthy. Inconsistent and incorrect dosing of medications can lead to exasperation of a health condition and stress on your heart.  

  1. Drink Wisely: Sugary drinks are all around us in Southeast Louisiana. They include soft drinks, sports drinks and alcohol. Not only do sugary drinks raise your blood sugar level, but they can also contribute to obesity, which is a risk factor for both heart attack and stroke. Unhealthy drinks can add more than 500 calories of non-nutritious input to your body and interfere with hydration.  

  1. Blood Pressure Monitoring: With home devices readily available, it’s never been easier to monitor your blood pressure. Ask your doctor what range is appropriate for you and if monitoring your blood pressure at home is a heart-healthy strategy for you.