Cardiovascular health is a term that’s used to define the health of blood vessels and heart. It’s especially important that you practice your due diligence when it comes to maintaining good cardiovascular health. The consequences that are associated with cardiovascular diseases consist of the manifestation of coronary heart disease, heart failure, heart arrhythmias, heart valve problems and stroke. There are several things that can contribute to getting cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure, diabetes, tobacco use and high blood cholesterol. Fortunately, there are also several things you can do to improve your cardiovascular health and thus, reduce your risk of getting a cardiovascular disease. In this post we take a look at 10 tips to consider.
1. Exercise Daily
One of the most effective things you can do is to stay active. Our hearts need consistent activity in order for it to remain healthy. Therefore, if you believe that you live a rather sedentary life, you can drastically improve your cardiovascular health by walking at least 10 minutes per day, at a pace of 2-3 miles per hour. Over time as you build up stamina, you should aim to walk for no less than 30 minutes each session. It’s also recommended that you find a physical activity that you enjoy. Some great cardiovascular related exercises include:
- Weight lifting
- Jump rope
2. Minimize Salt Intake
As mentioned above, multiple risk factors contribute to the development of heart disease such as high blood pressure. If your diet is rich in salt, chances are that your blood pressure levels are high and thus, you have an increased chance of getting a stroke or heart disease. The Federal and Drug Administration suggests that the average adult should consume no more than 6 grams of sodium. One of the most effective things you can do to reduce your salt intake is to limit the amount of processed foods that you consume as their sodium content tends to be especially high.
3. Quit Smoking
One of the primary causes of cardiovascular related illnesses is tobacco smoking. In fact, statistics show that tobacco smokers are twice as likely to get heart disease than those who don’t smoke. Smoking reduces oxygen content in your blood, raises blood pressure levels and damages your arteries.
4. Eliminate Alcohol
Certain lifestyle choices such as drinking alcohol can have a negative impact on the health of your heart. Besides damaging heart muscles, it can cause abnormal heart rhythms and raise your blood pressure.
5. Know What Your Numbers And Levels Are
As mentioned above, in order for you to maintain good heart health, you have to keep your blood sugar, cholesterol, triglyceride and blood pressure levels in check. Therefore, it’s highly recommended that you get an accurate idea of where you stand in the aforementioned categories. You can learn ideal levels based on your age group and sex by consulting your doctor. A doctor can also work with you to establish a plan to help you maintain healthy levels. Additionally, it’s also recommended that you keep records of your lab numbers and other vitals. This is to ensure that you and the doctor are on the same page when you make an appointment.
6. Reduce Sugar Intake
It’s a well known fact that high sugar intake is linked to increased weight gain, but did you know that it has a negative impact on your heart? High sugar intake can lead to an increased risk of developing diabetes, and subsequently heart disease. The problem with this is that consuming an abundance of sugar can lead to the development of diabetes. Diabetes in itself can cause your blood pressure levels to rise. Whenever blood pressure levels rise, the heart has to work harder to pump blood. According to the FDA, the average adult male should not consume more than 36 grams of sugar per day.
7. Maintain Stress Levels
As the old saying goes, “Stress really does kill ”. Even though stress can help us in some situations. Lengthy periods of stress can have a negative impact on your mental, physical and cardiovascular health. Chronic stress can lead to insomnia, irritability, depression and anxiety. Over time, it can cause our blood pressure levels to rise. Stress can also contribute to risky behaviors such as overeating and smoking. According to a study that was released in a prominent medical journal, chronic stress has a direct link to increased chances of experiencing a cardiovascular disease. Therefore, you can drastically improve your cardiovascular health by addressing underlying causes of stress.
8. Purchase Raw Vegetables And Fruits Only
Getting a balanced meal that is filled with whole grain, vegetables, fruits and nuts, is key to maintaining good cardiovascular health. But, when it comes to buying vegetables and fruits, even frozen options are able to maintain their nutritional value for many months, be sure to check the labels for their sodium and sugar content. It’s highly recommended that you avoid options which include added sugar. This is especially true for canned vegetables and fruits because they usually consist of an excessive amount of added sugars.
9. Lose Weight
Being overweight can actually have a negative impact on your heart because it has to work harder to transport blood throughout the body. The problem with this is that the harder the heart pumps, the higher blood pressure levels will rise. This in turn can cause stroke, kidney damage, heart disease and more. Lowering your weight will help to lower your blood pressure levels and reduce your heart’s workload.
10. Increase Fiber Intake
According to a review that was published in a prominent medical journal which consisted of multiple established meta-analyses, fiber can prove to be beneficial when it comes to preventing cardiovascular disease. Thirty one meta-analyses they reviewed, demonstrated that individuals who consumed the most amount of fiber, had much lower instances of cardiovascular disease, stroke and coronary heart disease. They concluded that the data suggested that consuming high amounts of dietary fiber can reduce the occurrence of, and mortality from cardiovascular related illnesses. To learn about our cardiac and radiologic diagnostic interpretation service, contact us today.