Coronary heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. While genetics and age can raise your risk for heart disease, the choices you make in your daily life can make a big difference in your heart health. Here are some tips to help you learn more about this disease so you can protect yourself and your loved ones.
Know your numbers associated with heart disease
People who are aware of their numbers typically make better lifestyle choices. Plus, keeping an eye on these numbers lets you take action when one inches toward the danger zone.
- Blood pressure: Normal pressure is below 120/80.
- Cholesterol: Your lipid profile consists of HDL, LDL and triglycerides. Your total cholesterol should be 200 mg/dL or lower.
- Dr. Muth’s recent article, “Heart Disease: An Aging Problem,” points out tests needed for an accurate picture of total heart health.
- Fasting blood sugar level: You’re in the healthy range when your fasting blood sugar level is below 100.
Choose a healthy living lifestyle
- Making a few changes in your daily life can help protect your heart. Strive to make good habits part of your daily routine. A healthy lifestyle should include:
- Exercise: Play sports, go walking, join a gym—get moving enough to get your heart rate up.
- Nutrition: Eat more fruits and vegetables, whole grain fiber and lean proteins. Eliminate or limit foods that are high in fats, sodium and added sugars.
- The Simple 7: Developed by the American Heart Association, Simple 7 leads you toward developing a heart healthy lifestyle.
Assess your habits for American Heart Month
- Many people are aware that excessive alcohol and smoking can lead to a heart disease or heart attack. But, other habits can wreak havoc on your heart too.
- Stop smoking
- Limit alcohol intake
- Reduce stress
- Give the weekend warrior a break