12 Heart Health Facts You Need to Know

The calendar has turned to February and with it our minds to flowers, candies, stuffed animals, fancy date nights, and all things heart shaped. With the month of love and romance upon us, it’s a good time to discuss heart health. In fact, there is a burning reason you need to consider making lifestyle changes that will help boost your cardiovascular health. In the United States, heart diesease is the leading cause of death, especially in women, according to the CDC. While this may raise some alarms, the upside is there are steps you can take to prevent health problems down the road. The following 12 facts can arm you with knowledge that can strengthen your heart, and even save your life.

12 Heart Facts Every Healthy Person Should Know & Live By

1.) Any Amount of Smoking Hurts the Heart

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, smoking harms almost every organ in the body, including the heart. It greatly effects its structure and how it functions. And lest you think you can get away with vaping, research shows toking on a vape is just as risky. With this in mind, if you smoke, do everything in your power to quit. Seek help from your medical professional who can direct you to possible helpful programs or medications.

2.) A Sedentary Lifestyle Places Your Heart at Risk

Sitting for prolonged periods of time has been proven to increase your risk of heart disease by raising both blood pressure and sugar. Here’s how it works–When you sit or lie down, your leg muscles don’t contract much and thus don’t do their usual job of taking sugar from the blood stream and helping to break down fatty acids in the blood, which leads to too much sugar and fatty acid build up. A fix is simple–get up and get active. It doesn’t take much movement to counteract the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Studies show that getting up every 30 minutes and moving for as little as 3 minutes can help.

3.) Inflammation is a Key Indicator of Heart Risk

Before you get too worked up, understand not all inflammation is bad. In fact, it’s the body’s natural way of fighting off trauma and injury. Chronic inflammation on the other hand, has a negative impact on your health and well-being. If you suffer from chronic inflammation, you need to think about how you can lower your inflammation. Ideas like regular exercise, regular chiropractic care, and losing weight are great places to start.

4.) Limiting Stress is a Big Heart Booster

The Journal of the American Medical Association has found that mental stress is a strong potential cardiac risk factor. The reason being is stress releases hormones in the body that cause significant changes like an increase in blood pressure. In addition, stress causes inflammation in your arteries. When you find yourself stressed, add a hint of zen to your day. Whether it’s finding a way to be more mindful or engaging in meditation, you need to find a path to a calmer life.

5.) A Healthy Diet can do Wonders for Your Heart

A healthy diet can work miracles for your heart health and it’s delicious. You can get started by:

  • Cutting back on processed foods
  • Reducing your salt intake
  • Cutting back on simple carbohydrates
  • Consuming more fruits and vegetables
  • Eating less saturated fat

A great way to ensure you’re hitting all of these steps is by living by the Mediterranean Diet, which is proven to be not only heart-healthy, but the best diet to abide by.

6.) Cardio & Strength Training are Essential to a Healthy Heart

Exercise is a proven heart booster. It can help keep your blood pressure in check, cut back on stress hormones, help muscles pull oxygen out of the blood, and many other things. Overall, regular exercise reduces your risk of dangerous cardiac events. For optimal heart health, strive to obtain 150 minutes of vigorous exercise each week.

7.) Consuming Too Much Sugar Elevates Your Risk of Heart Disease

Americans, in general, consume too much sugar. This is a large issue because there’s a direct link between added sugar intake and risk of cardiovascular disease. Therefore, you need to reduce your sugar intake. If you need a place to help you get started, checkout this guide.

8.) Get Aquainted with Your Heart History

Having relatives with a history of heart disease puts you at a higher risk. Learning about your family’s heart health history can better arm you against developing your own issues. Start be diving into your family’s health history. Speak with your close relatives directly to get a better idea of what’s going on in the family tree.

9.) Belly Fat is No Good for Your Heart

It’s not your belly pooch that is dangerous to your heart, it’s the fat you can’t see called visercal fat, which is located in the abdominal cavity. Keep an eye on your heart health by keeping on eye on your belly fat. While there is no diet or exercise regimen that targets belly fat, the American Heart Association says if you obtain 150 minutes of regular exercise each week you will successfully reduce your belly fat.

10.) Diabetes can Lead to Heart Problems

If unchecked Type 2 Diabetes can increase your chance of heart disease. Fortunately, there are ways you can reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes. You can start by losing weight, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet.

11.) High Blood Pressure Increases Your Risk of Heart Attack & Stroke

High blood pressure is the silent killer because usually there are no symptoms. That’s why you need to check your blood pressure on a regular basis. Begin by talking to your doctor about how often you should monitor your blood pressure and smart lifestyle changes.

12.) A Healthy Cholesterol Level can Help Prevent Artery Blockages

If you’re over the age of 20 experts recommend you get your cholesterol levels checked every four to six years. High levels of LDL cholesterol, which leads to fatty buildup in your arteries, and low levels of HDL cholesterol, which helps transport cholesterol away from your arteries, can cause serious health hazards. Your triglyceride levels also need to be checked. If those are high and the other two levels are off, your risk of heart disease and stroke are much greater. If you need to improve your cholesterol levels, talk to your doctor about eating healthier and obtaining more regular exercise.

Sources:

Good Housekeeping

Lisa Bain

Jan. 28, 2022

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