6 Habits for a Healthy Heart

heart health, cardiology, wellness, Cardiology Medical Clinic of Chula Vista

How is it that one of the most preventable health conditions is also the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States? Heart disease can happen to anyone at any age, not just older adults. Since February is American Heart Month, now is the perfect time to adopt a healthier lifestyle to help prevent heart disease.

In an effort to raise more awareness about this silent, deadly disease, Joel Juarez-Uribe, MD, the highly respected cardiologist at Cardiology Medical Clinic of Chula Vista, shares the following six habits for a healthy heart.

1. Spice it up without salt

One of the simplest ways you can promote a healthier heart is to spice up your food with pepper, cumin, garlic, and other ingredients, but skip the salt. Many foods that are a typical part of the American diet already have a high sodium content, such as packaged foods and restaurant dishes. Prepared and processed foods often have high quantities of sodium, so even if you can’t taste the salt, you’re still likely getting lots of sodium.

Consuming a high-sodium diet for a long time often leads to high blood pressure — the leading cause of cardiovascular disease. So when you lower your salt intake, you can lower your risk of developing heart disease, too. It’s amazing what a profound effect such a simple change in your diet can have on your overall health.

In addition to seasoning foods with spices instead of table salt, you can also lower your sodium intake by:

A heart-healthy diet can still be full of flavor, and it can go a long way toward preventing heart disease.

2. Get physical

Only one out of every five American adults gets enough physical activity in their day to meet the recommended guideline of getting 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise. Over the course of seven days, that’s just a little over 21 minutes a day of dancing, taking your dog for a brisk walk, or even vacuuming. You don’t have to join a gym to improve your heart health. You simply have to engage in a fun or productive activity for about 21 minutes a day.

3. Quit smoking

This likely isn’t the first time you’ve heard that you need to stop smoking to prevent heart disease and other serious health conditions. So why not make today the day you take the first step toward quitting smoking? Smoking damages your blood vessels, which makes your heart work harder. This can lead to heart disease.

4. Manage diabetes, cholesterol, and blood pressure

If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, Dr. Juarez-Uribe will help you get these existing health conditions under control. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes all increase your risk of developing heart disease — especially if you have all three.

High blood pressure makes your heart work harder to pump blood throughout your body. High cholesterol promotes plaque buildup on your artery walls and can lead to heart disease and heart attack. Diabetes, which means you have high blood sugar levels, can also lead to increased plaque buildup in your arteries.

Dr. Juarez-Uribe will work with you to help you manage these conditions effectively. He’ll create an individualized treatment plan to help you get control over your existing health conditions.

5. Unwind. Relax. Repeat.

Finding ways to manage your daily stresses of work, family, and other obligations can go a long way toward keeping your heart healthy. Dealing with stress by eating unhealthy foods or drinking alcoholic beverages won’t help your heart or your overall health. Try taking a walk, relaxing with some music, or doing something else calming. Taking part in healthy stress-management options can boost your mood as well as your physical well-being.

6. Get more sleep

If you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re putting yourself at risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, and depression, among other things. Make sleep a priority in your life, just like eating well and exercising each day. Start going to bed just 30 minutes earlier than you usually do and see if you feel more refreshed in the morning. Many people underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep on their health and wellness.

American Heart Month is the perfect time to make small lifestyle changes that can possibly add years to your life. Don’t become a victim of health problems that can sneak up on you. Join the national movement for a healthier heart today.

If you don’t know how to begin, or you’d like to schedule a physical to see if you’re at risk for developing heart disease, book an appointment online or over the phone with Cardiology Medical Clinic of Chula Vista today.

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