Though it’s tough to overcome the impact that genetics can have on your heart health, there are myriad methods for mitigating your risks of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Women face specific obstacles in battling cardiovascular disease that are physiological, societal, and habitual. However, by adopting healthy lifestyle changes, there is much that can be done to enhance women’s heart health, cut their overall risk of cardiovascular disease, and produce better outcomes for those who do suffer from CVD.
Though cardiovascular disease remains a leading cause of death among the general population and women in particular, there’s no reason to panic. You have the power to take control of your health by embracing a healthy lifestyle. That includes increased awareness, more physical activity, eating smarter, and abandoning habits such as smoking that increase the risk of developing heart disease. Specialists in cardiology in Suffolk County, NY, can help you come up with a plan that is tailored to your risk factors and lifestyle demands. Read on to learn a few more tips that can help you live a heart-healthy lifestyle and reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Know Your Numbers
You can’t work to mitigate your risks if you don’t know what those risks are. The first step to improving your heart health is knowing your numbers by visiting a cardiology clinic in Suffolk County, NY. Those numbers include your blood pressure, heart rate, BMI, and cholesterol levels. Elevated blood pressure is a sure marker for future cardiovascular disease and stroke, so make sure your BP is in the accepted range. Know your cholesterol levels, including your HDL, LDL, and triglyceride levels. Your weight plays a role in your risk for cardiovascular disease as well as where you carry that weight. If you carry weight around your midsection, work to trim it down through diet and exercise. Knowing these numbers gives you an idea of what you need to work on and when to find a physician to help get your numbers under control.
Ditch Bad Habits
There are some bad habits that can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, and, by abandoning them, you can dramatically cut your risk of heart issues. First, if you smoke, quit. Smoking wreaks havoc on your heart and is a leading cause of cardiovascular problems. Giving up tobacco will put you on a path to better heart health immediately. Salting food is another habit that should be dropped as sodium is responsible for increasing blood pressure and stressing the heart. Avoid adding salt to foods and try to keep sodium intake below recommended daily levels. Another common habit that you should avoid is consuming sugary drinks. Sugary drinks are a leading contributor to obesity, which is another heart health risk.
Many people fail to get adequate physical activity. Whether it’s because of a rigorous work schedule, a sedentary career, hectic family life, or constant exhaustion, failure to get even 20 minutes a day of moderate physical activity can lead to cardiovascular disease. You don’t have to work out like a bodybuilder or run a marathon to get more physical activity. Even walking or swimming for 20 minutes a day can significantly cut a woman’s risk of heart disease. Starting slow is OK. The important thing is that you start to incorporate more physical activity into your life.
Eating is one of the great joys in life, but it can also put your heart health in jeopardy if you don’t eat smart. For women, eating smart means exercising portion control to avoid weight gain. Obesity is a common risk factor for heart disease, and by trimming portions, you can mitigate it and even prevent it. Eating smarter also means avoiding saturated fats that can lead to plaque buildup in arteries. In addition to cutting out added sugar and sodium, eating smarter includes putting a rainbow of color on your plate. While greens are great for you, add other colors as well to get the full spectrum of antioxidants and vitamins that women need to maintain healthy hearts. It’s also important to incorporate fish into your diet once or twice a week. Eating fish provides your body with needed nutrients that you can’t get elsewhere.
Though cardiovascular disease and stroke continue to be a problem for women, there is hope that the threat of heart disease can be mitigated through lifestyle changes and healthier choices. By knowing their numbers, eating smarter, ditching bad habits, and moving more, women can seize control of their own heart health and live longer, healthier lives. For more information on women’s heart health, visit Peconic Bay Medical Center.