Heart disease isn’t a single illness. It’s actually a general term that describes several issues that can affect your heart and blood vessels. Some of these conditions include:
- Blocked or narrowed arteries
- Heart rhythm problems
- Congenital heart defects present since birth
Having heart disease can trigger life-threatening events, including heart attacks and strokes. And, one in four American deaths is due to heart disease.
At the practice of Tim Martin M.D. in Abilene, Texas, Dr. Martin and his team understand the important role a healthy lifestyle plays in your overall health, especially when it comes to heart disease. By making these five changes, you can keep your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar at normal levels, which may reduce your need for prescription medications and lower your risk of developing serious health issues, including heart disease.
1. Follow a healthy diet
To keep your body in tip-top shape, avoid processed foods high in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol. Instead, focus on a low-salt, high-fiber diet. You should eat lean proteins as well as plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. To keep your blood sugar in check or help manage diabetes, you should also limit the amount of sugar you consume.
2. Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight or obese can leave you vulnerable to several health conditions, from hormone imbalances and metabolic diseases to heart disease and certain types of cancer. During your appointment, Dr. Martin and his team can see if your weight is within a healthy range by calculating your body mass index. If you have extra pounds to lose, Dr. Martin can develop a personalized weight loss plan
3. Increase your physical activity
One of the easiest ways to keep your heart healthy and maintain your weight is through physical activity. For maximum results, you should try to get at least 2½ hours of moderate exercise each week, such as bicycling or walking briskly. It may sound like a lot, but you don’t have to exercise for large periods at a time. Instead, exercise for 10 minutes here and there over the week.
To get help increase your physical activity, or if you’re new to exercise, Dr. Martin can guide you through the process to get you started.
4. Drink in moderation and quit smoking
Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure. And smoking can increase your chances of developing heart disease. To avoid these health complications, women should limit their intake of alcohol to one beverage per day, and men should stop at two. And if you smoke, we can help you kick the habit once and for all.
5. Learn to manage stress
Living with stress can increase your risk of developing certain health issues, such as high blood pressure. To protect your heart health, add things to your schedule that can help you manage stress, such as engaging in relaxing activities or meeting with a qualified mental health provider for talk therapy.
In addition to making these lifestyle changes, you should get regular cardiovascular screenings. Dr. Martin and his team will tailor your evaluation to your personal and family health history, current health concerns, and individual risks.
To learn more ways to prevent heart disease, book an appointment online or over the phone with Tim Martin M.D. today.