Of all body muscles, the heart does the strenuous job of releasing life (blood) to the entire body. To do this, the heart must contract and expand. This is done around 60 to 100 times a minute for an average heart – about 100,000 beats per day. And for what? To pump 2,000 and more gallons of blood for the body to use daily.
You can take a heart test at home to see if there are vital signs of failing heart functions. Another thing you can do everyday to protect your heart health is making the right lifestyle choices. Here’s what we mean.
7 dos and don’t for heart health
- The risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases increase with smoking. Even breathing issues happen when you smoke. How? Swelling and inflammation of blood vessels are caused by the ingredients in cigarettes and tobacco. Consequently, these blood vessels reduce in diameter. As they have failed to do their job, the extra work is placed on the heart – this organ begins to beat faster, harder, and irregularly. Overall, the heart overworks! Cigarette chemicals also make cholesterol levels go up by forming plaque in the arteries.
Smoking, whether in small or large amount damages the heart and cardiovascular system. It presents the potential of developing heart disease.
It’s not easy to stop smoking. With help from a number of methods and products, the habit can be done away with. What’s even more interesting is heart and lung health can be restored immediately those cigarettes are dropped for life. Even the chances of a heart attack are lowered in just one year of quitting smoking.
- Drink too much. Plenty issues arise from excessive consumption of alcohol. Heart conditions are also there in the list. High blood pressure and increase in triglycerides levels will also happen when alcohol is too much in the body. When there’s a rise in cholesterol and triglycerides, fatty plaques will form and cause the risk of a stroke or heart attack.
If you must drink, do so moderately. Should your alcohol on a daily be much, reduce it. There is not much evidence supporting the claim that red wine has heart health benefits, so be careful. Why? Most of the substances: antioxidants and flavonoids contained in red wine can be present in other foods. This shouldn’t be your reason for enjoying red wine.
- Eat a healthy diet. What you eat determines how healthy your heart will be. Instant healthy heart foods do not exist. The right food for heart health is what you know already: enough veggies, fruits, healthy fats, whole grains, good protein, less sugary/processed foods and drinks. Need a diet change? See your dietitian for consultation.
- Regular exercise. The cardiac muscle in the heart benefits from physical activities including exercise. It gains strength and greater efficiency when you exercise. This is why it’s advised that you get at least 30 minutes of daily exercise. You can do any type of exercise rather than none at all. But cardio workouts can be of very good help to the heart. It’s much better than resistance or strength training if your goal is to enjoy more health in your cardiovascular system.
- Keep your stress levels low. Overworking, thinking too hard and other stress-inducing habits can tamper with your wellness emotionally, mentally, and physiologically. When you are under serious stress, the body releases cortisol plus other toxic chemicals. This in turn increase blood pressure and cholesterol levels which can drive one to seek unhygienic relief in drinking and smoking.
Stress is impossible to avoid completely. But employ healthy stress management strategies. With regular exercise, stress levels can drop. Others include breathing exercises, yoga and meditation.
- Sleep well. 7 hours of good sleep is essential for grownups. Sadly, not everyone sleeps for this long or sleep well. Poor sleep habits will eventually trigger a number of unhealthy conditions including depression, diabetes, and increase in blood pressure. Regulate your sleeping time by switching off all screens when it’s time to sleep. Learn to sleep well. Speak with your doctor to know more about how sleep hygiene can help boost heart health.
- Go for checkups. You must undergo a test for heart health routinely so that underlying issues are possible to diagnose and treat early. Visit for heart health test. Again, your doctor can teach you how to keep your heart healthy.
Private Doctors clinic in London offers a comprehensive heart health test which checks for LDL, HDL, triglycerides, HbA1c, hs-CRP and cholesterol. It is possible with a sample of blood withdraw at home using a finger prick test kit. Whatever the result is, speak with your private doctor near you to know further strategies to maintain a healthy heart.