Practical Steps To Safeguarding Your Heart
Your heart is an important organ in your body. If your heart fails, there is a whole lot you will be unable to do. Some signs that show that your heart is failing include difficulty in breathing with mild to moderate exertion. Sometimes, just climbing up the stairs could be an uphill task. There could also be swelling of the legs and abdominal regions.
Chest pain worsened by exertion especially affecting the left side with you being aware of your heart beat and feeling faint maybe an ominous sign that your heart is not getting the required attention it deserves.
Maintaining your heart should therefore be your utmost priority. It’s not restricted to just the elderly as even young people have been found to develop heart problems.
So how can one attain a healthy heart and prevent it from failing?
1. Exercise Regularly
The age long mantra of exercising as beneficial to one’s health cannot be overemphasized. Exercising regularly optimizes the pumping of blood by the heart making it work better. The beneficial effects of exercise to the heart include improving the levels of good cholesterol in the blood, helping to achieve weight loss and helping to keep blood vessels more elastic and free of debris that clogs them. Exercise doesn’t have to be formal or regimented. You can decide to use the stairway instead of the elevator or have a brisk walk to your office instead of driving. Remember, it’s not just exercising for one day and abandoning it for weeks. Exercise can only benefit the heart when it is done regularly. Moderate intensity exercise is recommended for at least 30 minutes, three to four times a week.
2. Eat healthy foods
Taking a well balanced diet is crucial to your heart. A heart-healthy diet is low in saturated fats that are injurious to the heart. To cut saturated fat, choose lean cuts of meat and remove the skin from your chicken before eating them. Avoid excessively fried meals as they may contain hydrogenated oils which are bad for the heart.
Fiber foods should be included in your meals. Foods that contain fiber like vegetables, whole grains, beans are very helpful in limiting the accumulation of bad fat. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish like mackerel and salmon can lower blood triglycerides (fats) and therefore slow the buildup of hardened fat deposits which may block the arteries.
3. Maintain optimal weight for your height
Having excess weight can put an untoward burden on your heart. So watch it. Being overweight puts you at risk of many chronic medical conditions which on the long run can affect your heart. Some studies have also shown that being obese puts you at risk of heart attack even if you do not have any underlying heart condition. Proper diet and exercise can enable you achieve normal weight.
4. Cease smoking and reduce alcohol intake.
Cigarettes contain a dangerous combination of chemicals. These chemicals have deleterious effects on the heart. Smoking usually narrows the blood vessels and can seriously affect the heart. There is really NO benefit to smoking.
Drinking alcohol in excess also can impair heart function both in the short and long term. Alcohol has been linked to irregular heart rhythms and can cause poor contraction of the muscles of the heart. If you need to take alcohol at all, it is advisable to be very moderate or totally abstain if you are at risk of being alcohol dependent.
5. Regular health check-ups
Make your doctor your confidant. He knows more about your heart than you do. It may seem rather inconveniencing to visit the hospital when you don’t feel ill. However, regular check-ups with a doctor can enable you to evaluate your health and he can counsel you on how to take better care of your heart.
It is also important for all adults to check their blood pressure, blood sugars and lipids so that early treatment can be instituted when abnormalities are noted.
If you’ve got questions about this topic, feel free to ask by using the comment box below and don’t forget to share this article using any of the social networking icons below.