The heart is one of the most important organs in your body. Not only does it supply oxygen to all parts of your body, but it also performs a cardiac cycle that distributes blood to the rest of your body.
Did you know that your heart is crucial to your survival?
It’s extremely important to take care of your heart with a cardiac wellness regimen, a healthy diet, and plenty of exercise. If not properly cared for, heart disease kicks in.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. Yikes! Did you know that 100 percent of us can take the necessary actions to improve our health and our heart? Yes, it’s possible.
Here are the 5 ways to knock-out heart disease:
1. Monitor your blood pressure
Have you ever noticed the blood pressure machines at your local drug store? This machine is there for an important purpose. Most people don’t know what their blood pressure is, or why it’s important to check it often. Think of it this way- we all want to ensure that our cars are maintained and we take them in for maintenance and routine care, right? Well, same concept here- You need to start monitoring your own body. Your health is extremely important, especially your heart.
If heart disease is considered the number one killer, then we need to change our habits. Getting your blood pressure taken frequently is crucial to your heart health. You can purchase a blood pressure cuff from the pharmacy or online and check it regularly from the convenience of your own home.
Remember these numbers when checking your blood pressure: Normal blood pressure is considered 119/79 or below.
The top number is the systolic and the bottom number is the diastolic. Systolic determines the pressure when your heart contracts. Diastolic measures the pressure in your arteries. Typically, you want your blood pressure to be less than 130/80 on average, and both numbers matter. If your numbers are higher than normal- talk to your doctor.
High blood pressure can equate to hypertension- not good. This means that your heart works twice as hard and can cause injury to your blood vessels. Blood pressure can fluctuate, so it’s important to know what activities if any, raise your particular heart rate.
Exercise, stress, and anxiety can also raise your blood pressure. Write down your blood pressure after your exercise, when you feel stressed, or when you feel anxious. See what the numbers show in your body. In order to knock-out hypertension- get your blood pressure checked often and make it part of your monthly routine for your cardiac wellness and heart maintenance.
2. Watch your “bad” cholesterol
Cholesterol is a type of fat lipid. Your body needs some cholesterol, but having too much can cause major problems, including clogged arteries. Once your arteries are clogged with too much cholesterol, the blood vessels that carry blood do not function properly.
Think of cholesterol like a clogged pipe in this analogy; If your bathtub drain accumulates a lot of hair, it can result in a clogged pipe. The clogged drain full of hair slows down and stops draining the water down the pipe. Same concept here, except having a clogged artery is no joke. It makes it harder for the blood to flow through and can lead to a stroke or heart attack. Bad cholesterol is sneaky. It can creep up at any time. Many people suffering from high cholesterol do not have obvious symptoms, and most don’t have any clue or warning of the troubling effects of high cholesterol.
High cholesterol can affect you at any age or stage in your life. You could be healthy with no history of high cholesterol and then suddenly you’re pregnant and your cholesterol is through the roof. High cholesterol can increase at any time, and at any age regardless of family history. Having a balanced healthy diet, and monitoring your cholesterol levels frequently is a crucial component to knocking out heart disease. It is so important to know your numbers and ask your doctor how to improve them if they are at a high level.
What you need to know- There are two kinds of cholesterol: BAD = (LDL) Low-density lipoproteins, and GOOD = (HDL) High-density lipoproteins. Your “bad” LDL cholesterol should be less than 100; remember, the lower the better. A level of 160 or higher is too high. The “good” HDL cholesterol should be more than 40 and if this number is over 60, it will help knock-out your chances of having a heart attack.
The best way to knock-out high cholesterol is to lose weight if you need to. Did you know that losing 5-10 pounds (if needed) can lower your cholesterol? Exercise can also raise that “good” HDL number to help you control your weight. And plenty of exercise is a preventive health habit to knock-out heart disease.
3. BMI- calculate your body mass index
If you never have thought about or heard of body mass index- it’s time. You must know what your BMI is in order to decrease your chances of morbid obesity, which may result in premature death. You can easily head over to the gym and ask for a BMI calculating tool or you can calculate your body mass index on WebMD’s BMI calculator. This tool measures body fat, using a person’s height and weight.
Here are the numbers you need to know in order to knock-out heart disease as a result of too much body fat:
BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered ideal. If your BMI number is over 24.9, this is considered overweight. A BMI between 25 to 29.9- indicates a person is overweight; 30-39 indicates obesity; 40 or more indicates morbid obesity. A BMI over 40 increases a person’s risk of death. It’s important to know your BMI, as it is crucial for maintaining a healthy heart.
4. Control your blood sugar
We’ve learned that keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control is imperative when knocking out heart disease. However, checking your blood sugar is also one of the best things you can do for cardiac wellness.
High blood sugar can not only damage nerves, but it can also damage your heart’s blood vessels. And you need those blood vessels working properly because they control your heart.
Are you at risk for type 2 diabetes?
It’s important to have your doctor check your blood sugar. If you have high blood glucose from diabetes, you have a higher chance of developing heart disease. Know your numbers and knock out heart disease by controlling your blood sugar.
If your number is less than 100, that is considered to be a normal fasting blood sugar level. If your number is 100-125, this fasting blood sugar number could mean that you are prediabetic. If your number is 126 or higher, you have diabetes and the longer you have diabetes, the greater risk of developing heart disease.
Diet and exercise can help lower and control high blood sugar. It’s important to consult with your doctor to find the best diet and exercise plan that would help you knock-out or control high blood sugar.
For those of you that do not like to exercise, too bad! You don’t have the luxury of giving yourself an option when knocking out heart disease. You must exercise.
You need to move your body one way or another to get that blood pumping and heart muscle working. Reprogram your mind and form the habit of exercise. In order to form a healthy heart regimen, it takes 10 minutes of exercise, three times a day to get started. Start off slow by taking a short walk, and then increase your walk week-by-week. It is important to consult with your physician and form an exercise plan together based on your doctor’s recommendations.
If you have an injury or disability that prevents you from exercising, there might be other ways to get your heart pumping. Knock-out heart disease by exercising that heart muscle any way you can.
There are many other lifestyle changes that can be made to combat heart disease. However, if you follow these 5 easy ways to knock-out your risk of developing heart disease, you’re on the right track. Start slow, and form a routine that incorporates regular exercise, and check-ups that monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar level. This is the key to cardiac wellness. You can do it- Knock-out heart disease!