5 Medication-Free Strategies to Help Prevent Heart Disease
Here are 5 ways you can help protect your heart. The Irish heart foundation report that it is Ireland’s no 1 killer. See here for statistics.
We all know diet and exercise are primary factors for your well-but here are some motivating tips for you.
1. Don’t smoke or use tobacco
Smoking or using tobacco is one of the most significant risk factors for developing heart disease. Chemicals in tobacco can damage your heart and blood vessels, leading to narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Atherosclerosis can ultimately lead to a heart attack. When it comes to heart disease prevention, no amount of smoking is safe.
If you need a hand to quit. Come and see me. Acupuncture and acupressure points can help reduce cravings.
The good news, though, is that when you quit smoking, your risk of heart disease drops dramatically within one year. No matter how long or how much you smoked, you’ll start reaping rewards as soon as you quit.
2. Exercise for 30 minutes on most days of the week
Getting some regular, daily exercise can reduce your risk of fatal heart disease. And when you combine physical activity with other lifestyle measures, such as maintaining a healthy weight, the payoff is even greater.
Physical activity helps you control your weight and can reduce your chances of developing other conditions that may put a strain on your heart, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. It also reduces stress, which may be a factor in heart disease.
Remember that activities such as gardening, housekeeping, taking the stairs and walking the dog all count toward your total. You don’t have to exercise strenuously to achieve benefits, but you can see greater benefits by increasing the intensity, duration and frequency of your workouts.
3. Eat a heart-healthy diet
Eating a diet that is low in fat, cholesterol and salt and increasing fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products, which can help protect your heart. Beans, other low-fat sources of protein and certain types of fish can also reduce your risk of heart disease.
Limiting certain fats you eat also is important. Of the types of fat — saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and trans fat — saturated fat and trans fat increase the risk of coronary artery disease by raising blood cholesterol levels.
If you don’t know what your cholesterol levels are, you should. Your GP can test them for you. There are specific foods that you can add to your diet to target high cholesterol levels. Here in The elbowroom Clinic, we can advise you how to introduce them and which supplements support lowering levels.
4. Maintain a healthy weight
As you put on weight in adulthood, your weight gain is mostly fat rather than muscle. This excess weight can lead to conditions that increase your chances of heart disease — high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
One way to see if your weight is healthy is to calculate your body mass index (BMI), which considers your height and weight in determining whether you have a healthy or unhealthy percentage of body fat. BMI numbers 25 and higher are associated with higher blood fats, higher blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
The BMI is a good, but imperfect guide. Muscle weighs more than fat, for instance, and women and men who are very muscular and physically fit can have high BMIs without added health risks. Because of that, waist circumference also is a useful tool to measure how much abdominal fat you have:
- Men are considered overweight if their waist measurement is greater than 40 inches (101.6 centimetres, or cm)
- Women are overweight if their waist measurement is greater than 35 inches (88.9 cm)
The good news is that even a small loss in weight can be beneficial. Reducing your weight by just 10 percent can decrease your blood pressure, lower your blood cholesterol level and reduce your risk of diabetes.
5. Get regular tests
High blood pressure and high cholesterol can damage your heart and blood vessels but without testing for them, you probably won’t know whether you have these conditions. Regular screening can tell you what your numbers are and whether you need to take action.
So make sure you get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked and it may also be worth screening for diabetes. Depending on your risk factors, such as being overweight or a family history of diabetes, your doctor may recommend first testing you for diabetes sometime between ages 30 and 45, and then retest every three to five years.
So, there we have it. 5 tips for a healthy heart. Come see our Naturopath Siobhan to see how you can improve your own health. We’re here to help!
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If you have any concerns about high cholesterol, addiction or weight issues and would like to make an appointment with any of our therapists please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01 6779859.