There are many factors that determine one’s risk of heart disease including
familial predisposition – but lifestyle including diet, exercise routines and managing stress levels also play a significant role in whether or not a person is at risk of heart disease and heart attacks.
As always, we encourage you to have open and frank discussions with your health care providers, so you understand your personal risks and how to best manage them.
Simple changes to your lifestyle may offer huge rewards
At Noble Horizons part of our 6 Pillars of care include delicious well balanced healthy meals, regular movement and exercise and mental health awareness including managing the effects of stress – all of which you can do at home!
9 Steps to a healthy heart:
- Stop Smoking. There are zero benefits to smoking so let’s “Commit to Quit”– it’s that simple and that hard! The American Heart Association has some great tips to help you on your journey – you can access them HERE
- Eat Better. A healthy diet is one of your best defenses against heart disease. You are indeed what you eat! Choosing nutrient dense whole foods, avoiding processed and fast foods and enjoying a well-balanced diet is the secret. Start by limiting the intake of processed carbohydrates and sugars, try swapping plant protein for animal protein for a few meals a week and increase your fiber. Little changes go a long way.
- Watch your cholesterol. Fat and plaque lodged in your arteries is a heart attack waiting to happen. Know your HDL and LDL numbers by getting annual blood work done and watch for any upticks. You want a low LDL (bad cholesterol) level and higher HDL (good cholesterol) number combine those with a low triglyceride number for a healthy average. Work with your health care providers to best manage your levels.
- Avoid high blood pressure. Optimal blood pressure readings are less than 120/80 mmHg and high blood pressure is a major risk factor for stroke and is often quite common with those who have heart disease. Reduce stress, exercise, reduce salt intake and if need be, take all medications as recommended.
- Move every day! You don’t have to be a marathon runner to have a healthy heart but as little as 150 minutes of moderate activity per week will offer you some amazing benefits. Walking, yoga, biking – or running if that’s what you love are all great options. If you are inactive now – start slow. At Noble we offer free virtual exercise classes – you can sign up HERE
- Keep a healthy weight. Obesity is at epidemic levels in the U.S. – for both children and adults and puts people at high risk for Type 2 Diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure - all contributing factors for heart disease. Work with a nutritionist to adjust your diet and consider hiring a personal trainer to help you kick start an exercise routine that works for you!
- Manage Diabetes. According to the American Heart Association, 68% of people over 65 who suffer from diabetes will die of some sort of heart disease. Type 2 Diabetes is most cases can be reversed with lifestyle changes.
- Reduce that stress! Stress is prevalent everywhere in our lives and some people manage it better than others. Outside of the obvious symptoms of stress such as high blood pressure and mental health issues, there are often secondary symptoms such as overeating, lack of exercise, alcohol and drug abuse all of which are heart disease risk factors.
- Limit Alcohol. Drinking too much raises blood pressure and increases risk factors for stroke, cancer and other diseases. It also can contribute to high triglycerides and irregular heartbeats. And of course, there are the un-healthy habits that often go with the consumption of alcohol including smoking and over-eating.
Remember, even making small changes to your lifestyle is a great start to a healthy heart. Please check with your health care providers before starting any new exercise program or diet changes.