Did you know your heart pumps blood to nearly every single cell in your body? So how do you take care of this organ that’s working nonstop to keep you going?
You might be aware of some of the most common ways you can be proactive about your heart health. A deeper dive may show you other surprising ways to focus on your heart.
Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women.1 While you can’t control some aspects of life that may contribute to your risk, like age, genetics and previous illnesses, you have the power to control your lifestyle. Here are the research-backed tips that can lower your risk.
See your doctor at least once a year for an annual physical.
This includes avoiding secondhand smoke.
Before you start any new exercise routine, talk to your doctor to make sure it’s safe. Build up to at least 75 minutes of vigorous activity or 150 minutes of moderate activity each week. This can look like 30 minutes of moderate activity, like brisk walking, five times per week.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats. Limit sugar and heavily processed foods.
Body mass index (BMI) is a value of your weight related to your height. Use a BMI calculator to know your number. Aim for a BMI between 18.5 and 25 kg/m².
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Set a routine so that you take it at the same time each day and don’t skip doses. Don’t change the dose or stop taking it without your doctor’s advice.
Self-care, meditation, breathing exercises and therapy can help you learn strategies for managing your unique stressors.
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Did those tips feel familiar? Or are you already feeling good in those areas? If so, take your heart health to the next level. Here are a few ways to get started.
The best time to get information about your family’s medical history is before you need it. Ask your doctor for a medical history questionnaire or use an online health history tool.
Share it with your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, sisters and brothers, and children. One family member can be the “keeper” of the completed forms and create a comprehensive summary.
While the first step is to get regular checkups and testing, the second step is to follow up on the results. Learn your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, how they compare with healthy values of each and talk with your healthcare team on the best ways to manage them.
If your doctor recommends, you can buy a blood pressure monitor and blood glucose monitor and check these vitals at home between doctor’s visits.
If you have any medical conditions, take time to learn about them so that you’ll know what to discuss with your doctor. Doctors want to answer questions and help you understand your condition.
For example, if you’re one of the more than 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. who have prediabetes, or one of the 34 million adults in the U.S. who have diabetes, you have a higher risk for heart disease.1,2,3 You’ll want to work with your doctor to reduce those risks as much as possible.
You are the person who knows yourself best. If something doesn’t feel right, you have the right to say and do something.
Since a serious heart condition may seem like another, less serious illness (a heart attack could feel like something as simple as indigestion), don’t worry about being wrong. If you’re experiencing a medical emergency, don’t hesitate to call 911.
You don’t have to do it alone. Having someone who will help you keep track of your medications, exercise with you and encourage you on days when you don’t feel your best can go a long way to help you improve your heart health.
And remember that HealthiestYou is available 24/7 anywhere in the U.S. to help you manage your and your family’s non-urgent medical needs. Download our convenient app to your phone or tablet now.