5 Ways to Lower Your Risk of a Heart Attack
Heart disease is the number one killer in American. Let me say it again—the NUMBER ONE killer and in most cases we can avoid or decrease our chances of developing this disease. Heart disease occurs when the arteries that supply the heart with blood, oxygen and any nutrients start to narrow. The narrowing is a result of a buildup of cholesterol fatty deposits inside the arterial walls. The buildup, also known as plaque, clogs up the arteries creating blockages therefore restricting oxygenated blood to get to the heart.
Lower your risk today by adopting the following habits:
- Stop smoking and don’t start! Smoking is the leading preventable cause of heart disease in women. Chemicals in the tobacco can damage your heart and blood vessels, leading to atherosclerosis, which is narrowing of the arteries. This leads to a heart attack. Also, the carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces some of the oxygen in your blood. This leads to higher blood pressures and forces your heart to work harder. Bottom line- stop smoking! The good news is once you stop your risk of heart disease drops significantly over the years. By the 5th year of non-smoking you are almost back to a non-smoker status!
- Eat a heart healthy diet. Plan ahead, do some research and find a heart healthy diet for you and your family to follow. It’s not really about cutting back but making better choices- for you and your loved ones. By eating the right foods YOU can manage so many things, for example control your weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol. To get you started here’s some additional tips:
- Add plenty of fruits and vegetables to your daily food routine, especially those green leafy vegetables and vitamin C rich items. Your goal should be at least 10 servings a day. And fruits and vegetables have an added bonus- not only do they help prevent heart disease, they may also help prevent cancer and improve diabetes.
- Don’t forget whole grains and fiber.
- Watch your sodium intake– eating at home is the best way to manage the amount of sodium you eat!
- MOVE! Regular exercise can help prevent your risk of fatal heart disease. When you combine exercise with the other tips we have provided you will reap so many benefits, such as helping your body reduce insulin resistance and providing you with endorphins that lift your mood! A brisk 30 minute will do wonders for your body and mind!
- Maintain a healthy weight. Carrying extra weight, especially around your mid-section increases your risk of heart disease. It can also open the door to additional health issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Avoid the word “diet” – look for ways to make lifestyle changes. Make good food choices and learn to fuel your body the right way!
- Sleep! Did you know that sleep deprivation increases your stress hormones, raises your blood pressure and can affect your blood sugar levels? Adequate sleep is crucial to our proper brain function, basically we need time to decompress and prepare mentally and physically for the next day. We need at least 8 hours of restful sleep a night. We have adopted the following strategies to help us get a good night’s sleep:
- Get on a schedule to help you keep regular sleep hours.
- Meditate before going to bed, focus on lowering your heart rate and relaxing.
- Exercise daily but limit exercise to at least 4 hours prior to bedtime.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol or any other stimulant 4 hours before bedtime.
- Avoid watching TV before bedtime.
The risk is real! Heart disease will affect a member of your family, a co-worker, an associate- the question is are you prepared to help in the event of a medical emergency. CPR Choice offers classes in First Aid, CPR and AED Training. We have a passion for training people in the event of a medical situation. Check out our CPR training calendar and sign up for a class today in Knoxville, Maryville, or Tri-Cities! CPR Choice also offers training on-site at your location. Learn CPR in the comfort of your office or home!