Heart (or cardiovascular) disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and has been for decades. Every year, about 659,000 people die from cardiovascular diseases.
Too often, people seek to “cure” heart disease. They spend time and money chasing unproven and unsafe alternatives instead of proven therapies and lifestyle changes.
The bad news is that there is no quick fix or cure for the Disease. However, it can be prevented with early intervention and a healthier lifestyle.
As a cardiologist, I am asked daily, “What can I do today to help my heart?”
Here are my three recommendations for what you can start doing today to lower your risk of heart disease and start living a healthier, more fulfilling life.
Consult your health care provider.
Many risk factors for heart disease can be reduced , which can have a big impact on your health. Talking with your health care provider about your current health status and heart concerns will help you take a proactive approach to your health.
During your appointment, your health care provider will check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels to make sure they’re in the right range. These two levels greatly influence the risk of heart disease. If needed, your health care provider may refer you to specialists for additional care.
If you are prescribed medication, it is important that you take it as directed. Taking prescribed medications as directed is a proven and safe method of reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease or slowing its progression.
While you are taking the medications, ask your Health care provider if you have any questions. Don’t downplay any symptoms you may be experiencing, so they can help you get to the bottom of the issues.
Daily, dedicated physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. And unless you’re a personal trainer or professional athlete, “being busy” at work doesn’t count.
It is important that you carry out your daily activity outside the limits of work. The good news is that just 30 minutes a day of any physical activity (like yard work or housework) counts.
Remember that you don’t need fancy gym equipment or an expensive gym membership to get your heart pumping. Put down that phone and get going.
Change the way you eat.
For years, the Mediterranean Diet has been recommended for maintaining heart health, and for good reason. I hate to use the dreaded five-letter word -Diet- because it’s not really a diet like many of the fad diets out there today. In fact, the Mediterranean Diet is sustainable, economical and even suitable for children.
The main difference between a typical American diet and the Mediterranean Diet is the consumption of “red and sweet meats”. As the body digests and breaks down red meat (beef, venison, elk, venison, pork) and processed sugars, bacteria in the gut produce chemicals that increase potential deposits of harmful plaque (atherosclerosis) in the arteries. This can cause heart attacks and strokes.
Just research the Mediterranean Diet on the Internet, and you’ll find plenty of information on how to change the foods you put into your body. You can also talk to your health care provider for more information.
By taking the right steps now, you can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Members looking for a healthcare provider who specializes in cardiovascular disease can visit Find a Provider and make an appointment to learn more about heart health.