Don’t take your heart for granted. Your heart pumps approximately 2,000 gallons of blood throughout your body each day, and during your lifetime, it will beat over 2.5 billion times.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among adults in the United States. Every year heart attacks affect more than 800,000 Americans.
At Metropolitan Cardiovascular Consultants, LLC we want you to take steps to protect your heart so you live a long, healthy life.
You may not need to make radical changes to improve your heart health. We’ve compiled information on five practical steps you can take to boost your heart health and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Know your heart health
There’s a powerful saying that you can’t manage what you don’t measure, and it certainly applies to your heart health. Before taking steps to improve your heart health, it’s crucial to know your baseline. This means knowing your risk factors and visiting your primary care for your annual physical if you have any cardiovascular risk factors or if you have symptoms suggestive of heart disease you may be referred to a cardiovascular physician for further evaluation.
Risk factors for heart disease include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Overweight and obesity
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Family history of heart disease
- Older age
Symptoms That may Suggest Cardiovascular Disease Include:
- Chest Pain
- Unexplained Fatigue
- Swollen Ankles
- Unexplained Sweats
- Unexplained Nausea
- Tired or Achy Calves
Knowing your risk factors and how to control and prevent them as well as identifying any symptoms that may be due to Heart Disease are good ways to start taking steps to keep your heart healthy.
Adopt a heart-healthy diet
The foods you eat regularly play a key role in your heart health. Eating a diet high in saturated fats and sodium significantly raises the risk of developing heart disease and having a heart attack or stroke.
Conversely, it has been shown that adopting a plant based diet reduces the risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol and lowers your overall heart disease risk. In fact, 10 servings of fruit and vegetables each day lowers the risk of heart disease by close to 30%
A heart-healthy diet :
- High in fiber, found in plant based foods
- Rich in leafy greens
- Contains plenty of fruit, nuts, grains, beans and vegetables
- Low in sodium, no added salt and avoid processed meats
- Low in saturated fat, avoid animal fat, minimize red meat, eat polyunsaturated fat from plants and fin fish
- Low in sugar,minimize or avoid sweets and refined starches found in white bread, white rice, pasta and most packaged snacks
- Moderate amounts of Healthy protein, plant based protein( beans,nuts, soy products),fish, chicken and turkey minimize red meat
- Avoid fried foods and use oils with healthier fats like olive oil and canola oil for cooking
Regardless of what type of physical activity you choose, what’s important is that you get moving. Inactivity is as bad as smoking. Leading a sedentary lifestyle is a major risk factor for heart disease.
Exercising regularly decreases your chances of dying and improves your overall well being..
Getting plenty of physical activity also helps to maintain a healthy weight, lowers blood pressure, blood sugar and helps increase your good cholesterol (HDL) and decreases your triglycerides. Everyone should aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. We recommend 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise like brisk walking, jogging, cycling or swimming 5 days a week. If you cannot do 30 minutes at a stretch you can do multiple shorter sessions. If you do not have the time for a formal exercise program you can incorporate healthy habits in your daily routine like taking stairs instead of the elevator and parking as far away from a building entrance as you can to increase the distance you walk.
Any activity is better than none.
If you’re unused to exercise, it’s perfectly fine — and even recommended — to start slowly and gradually increase your level of activity. It may be necessary to get evaluated by your physician prior to starting on an exercise program and an Exercise Stress test may be recommended. This is especially true if you have diabetes or other risk factors for heart disease.
Maintain a healthy weight
70% of American adults are either overweight or obese, and have a higher risk of hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol which are all major risk factors for heart disease. Obesity is also associated with an increased risk of Coronary artery disease, heart failure and death from heart disease.
Fortunately, many of the steps that lower your risk for heart disease (exercise, healthy diet) also lead to weight loss.
The thought of tackling excess weight can be daunting, especially if you have a significant amount of weight to lose.
Keep in mind, however, that even a small amount of weight loss is beneficial. Shedding 5-10% of your body weight lowers the risk for heart disease. That’s just 10-20 pounds for someone who weighs 200 pounds.
Enlist the help of a your physician
Following up with your primary care physician is an important step in maintaining your cardiovascular health. If the need to further evaluate your heart health is identified it is important to see a cardiovascular physician. At Metropolitan Cardiovascular Consultants we are dedicated not only to diagnosing and treating conditions that affect the heart, but also to preventive cardiovascular medicine and helping you keep your heart as healthy as possible.
The power to improve your heart health is in your hands. If you’re concerned about your heart health, schedule a checkup.
Contact us at Metropolitan Cardiovascular Consultants by phone or request an appointment online at one of our three locations in Beltsville, Bowie, and Columbia, Maryland. You can also send a message to Dr. Djamson and his team via our website.