How to Live a Healthy Heart Lifestyle
The human heart is the size of a fist yet it does a lot for us. It pumps millions of gallons of blood, supplies oxygen, hormones, fuels, essential cells and nutrients to the tissues. Therefore, the heart has to be kept healthy and fit.
Cholesterol is being blamed for being the key culprit behind heart problems. It is the ‘bad’ cholesterol or LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein) that is responsible for the damage. An unhealthy diet like canned foods, frozen meals, processed and packaged foods contribute to a rise in LDL.
Smoking, which has become a fad amongst the youth and an addictive habit for many, is also a key contributor to heart disease. It damages and narrows the arteries, reduces the amount of oxygen supplied in the blood, increases heart rate as well as blood clotting, thereby increasing the risk of heart disease.
The other culprits for heart disease are overweight or obesity. As we live in a time where our jobs and lifestyle have made us sedentary, incidences of obesity have gone up. Obesity also causes insulin resistance and contributes to a rise in blood pressure.
All is not lost. There are many healthy habits we can incorporate as a part of our daily routine that will prevent further damage to our heart. Controlling our diet is the first step in living a heart-healthy lifestyle. Incorporating fish and flax seeds rich in omega-3, phytonutrient rich berries, oatmeal filled with fiber and vitamins, carrots, sweet potatoes and red peppers, oranges and papaya rich in potassium and magnesium can go a long way in ensuring that not only your heart but your body gets only the best of nature’s produce. Minimizing salt-intake can help to greatly improve the overall functioning of the heart through lowered blood pressure.
Exercising regularly helps you to lose not only your weight but can also contribute towards lowering your risk of heart disease. A 30-minute session can improve cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. With exercise, your heart muscles are able to pump blood more efficiently, help your heart work better under stress and ensure higher levels of ‘good’ or HDL cholesterol. Stress reduction can also lead to a healthier and a happier heart. It is imperative that before making any alterations to your diet or embarking on an exercise regimen, that we consult our doctor.
The best way to protect your heart from damage due to smoking is to never smoke or to stop it completely. Do not go to places where smoking is allowed ensuring that you are not exposed to passive smoking. Requesting family and friends to not smoke in the house, car or other common areas can also help. Reducing smoking will automatically reduce your risk of blood clotting, heart attacks and heart disease.
Home monitoring of blood pressure and sugar will help you better understand if the changes you are introducing in your lifestyle are working or not. This can help you have better conversations with your doctor during every visit. Ensure that your blood pressure monitor and glucometer is calibrated for accurate results. Last but not the least, taking your medicines on time and as prescribed by the doctor, can help ensure that any heart disease that you might have is well managed.
For more information on Healthy heart and lifestyle reach out to
Dr. Arun Cheriyan, Aster Jubilee Medical Centre, Bur Dubai