Five Steps to Prevent Heart Health Issues

There are many risk factors for heart health issues. While some risk factors are beyond the patient’s control, there are lifestyle choices that can help reduce risk and balance some of the risk factors that patients can’t change.  

Age, genetics, family history, and personal history are risk factors that can’t be changed. Even patients who have these risk factors can reduce their overall risk of heart disease by engaging in health-promoting behaviors, such as physical activity, food choices, stress management, and substance use.

Here are five steps that can help prevent heart health issues. 

Add movement to your day

What’s your favorite form of movement? Are you able to dedicate a block of time to exercise, or does it work better for you to add in short bursts of your favorite activity? Adding movement to your day is an important part of heart health. Aim for a total of 30 minutes of cardio five times a week. The great news is that even short blocks of time that add up to 30 minutes daily can improve heart health, and any type of moderate physical activity can help.

Eat lots of fruits and vegetables

We all know that diet and exercise are the best ways to improve our health, but it’s hard. Rather than stressing about maintaining a perfect diet or restricting specific foods, focus on increasing the fruits and vegetables you eat. They will not only provide your body with the nutrients it needs, but also help keep you full longer.

Reduce stress

Stress can contribute to high blood pressure, a lack of sleep, and poor lifestyle habits. Taking the time to engage in stress management activities like taking walks, journaling, seeing a counselor, and connecting with others can help relieve tension when stress cannot be fully eliminated. 

Quit smoking and reduce alcohol use

Smoking and alcohol use are two huge contributors to heart disease. Quitting can be a challenge, but is a worthwhile endeavor. There are many methods and aids available to help you quit. Reach out to your doctor or medical professional for recommendations. 

See your doctor regularly

Even if you don’t have any chronic ailments, you should see your doctor for an annual physical exam. During an annual exam, your doctor will review important health metrics like your blood pressure and bloodwork plus talk about your health history and any changes you’re noticing. This annual screening can help identify issues early to begin treatment. 

Reducing your risk for heart disease doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing approach. Identify small changes you can make over time to reduce your risk, including getting more movement, eating more fruits and vegetables, managing your stress, quitting smoking, and seeing your doctor regularly.