Heart disease affects both younger and older adults, and is the leading cause of death in men and women in the United States. For those that it affects, heart disease is costly. According to Kaiser Family Foundation, an individual diagnosed with heart disease spends an average of $12,000 a year.1 The good news is that many risk factors that lead to heart disease are preventable.
Here are some practical tips to get you started on the journey to a healthier heart:
Eat healthy. Focus on eating more fruits and vegetables, and control portions of lean protein. Look for ways to reduce salt intake by seasoning food with fresh herbs or spices.
Get active. Small sessions of activity over the course of a day can make a difference to your heart health. Increase your daily activity by including a few short 5-10 minute walks in your day. Pair long phone calls with walks, or choose to take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Stay at a healthy weight. Work with your primary care physician to determine your healthy weight. They can give you options that fit your lifestyle and are realistic.
Manage stress. Too much stress can lead to high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Taking ten deep slow breaths, chewing gum, taking walks, or listening to soothing music are some great ways to reduce stress. For those looking to get ahead of stress, try mindfulness meditation–there are many free apps to help guide you.
Avoid smoking and limit alcohol intake. Cutting out cigarettes is the single best thing you can do for your health and can help lower the risk of heart disease. While there are some heart benefits to drinking some types of alcohol, those benefits are diminished when you have more than two servings per day.
If you want more support or have questions about a new or ongoing heart condition, Grand Rounds can help connect you to a leading medical expert for a second opinion.
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DISCLAIMER: The advice in this article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not meant to replace or substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment from a medical professional. Before taking on a new health care regimen, please consult with a qualified service provider with questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.
1Source: Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, U.S. Department of Health and Human Service