Heart disease is not just an issue for men;, it’s the #1 threat to women’s health too. Here are 10 lifestyle changes to improve your heart health
Most women take a healthy heart for granted. When they hear the words “heart attack” they probably think of their spouse before themselves. They don’t know that heart diseases kill more women than breast cancer. Yes, you heard it right! Breast cancer is not the biggest health risk; heart diseases are the #1 threat to a woman’s health.
Let’s have a look at these simple 10 heart-healthy tips to help you manage your risks and cut down the likelihood of being afflicted with cardiovascular disease.
1. Stay Active
Involve yourself in a daily exercise routine. Breaking a sweat regularly not only helps in maintaining your weight but it also lowers your blood pressure and cholesterol.
Try to participate in moderate exercise for at least 3 hours per week. Run, bike, dance, hike, or swim — go ahead and do whatever physical activity you love to do. It will reduce the risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases, and bring forth myriad other health benefits. If you use a wearable monitor, then aim for at least 10,000 steps every day.
2. Quit Smoking
It is proven that tobacco smoking harms almost every organ in the body including heart and blood vessels. Put out that cigarette for a stronger and healthier heart.
If you are finding it difficult to kick it quickly, then try a less harmful alternative. You can switch to e-cigs from traditional ones to help you get over your cravings. The e-juices in vaping devices have variable nicotine levels and zero tobacco. This way you can curb your need for a smoke, without being impacted by harmful tobacco, and gradually ween yourself from nicotine.
3. Eat a Healthy, Well-Balanced Diet
It’s a fact that if you supply your body with the right nutrients then it will make a huge difference to your cardiovascular (and overall) well-being. To manage your blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight, you should take low-calorie and low-glycemic foods with vitamins, fiber, and minerals.
Consume fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, fish, whole grains, and nuts. It will lead you to a healthier heart and better level of fitness. Avoid highly processed foods and ‘fast foods’ and choose whole, mostly plant-based foods instead.
4. Know What a Heart Attack Feels Like
Sometimes, what you think is heartburn or nausea, could potentially be signs of a heart attack. Women can have different signs than men when it comes to a heart attack.
Of course, chest pain is the #1 symptom for both sexes, but women may also experience certain signs like shortness of breath, unexplained fatigue, nausea, and sharp pain in the back, neck, or jaw. So, familiarize yourself with the signs. And if you feel symptoms come on, get help immediately — if you are, in fact, experiencing a heart attack, time is of the essence to get medical attention.
5. Know Your Numbers with Regular Healthy-Heart Checkups
Most women don’t have any idea about key health indicator numbers like blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index, and blood sugar. It is important to monitor these on a periodic basis. For example, if you get your BMI in a normal range of 18.5 – 24.9 then your risk of cardiovascular disease drops by almost 32%.
6. Look After Your Mental Health
If a person is suffering from depression, stress, is socially isolated, or doesn’t have good social support then there can be a great risk of heart diseases for them. So, pay attention to how you feel and if you feel depressed for more than 2 weeks then take professional help or treatment, talk to your friends, family members, or someone you know well.
Stress and heart diseases go hand in hand.
There are many ways to reduce your stress level, including establishing clear boundaries for what responsibilities you take on and regularly practicing calming, mindfulness rituals such as meditation or yoga.
7. Limit Your Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol can also contribute to heart disease. If you drink too much, then it can raise your blood pressure and cholesterol levels and lead to heart failure. Limiting your consumption can have a dramatic positive impact. While a ‘safe’ level will vary with each person, generally speaking, one beverage a day is considered a moderate amount without significant concern.
8. Get Enough Sleep
A good night’s sleep is very important for heart health. You should take at least 7-8 hours of sleep at night to properly restore and repair your body, allowing your organs to function optimally. Good sleep also can reduce your stress level, which is a contributing factor in high blood pressure. Consistently poor sleep can eventually lead to heart failure. So, in addition to heart-healthy choices, make 7-8 hours of daily sleep a non-negotiable routine in your life.
9. Have More Sex
Intimacy is also linked to heart health. Having frequent sex (at least two times a week is ideal) can reduce your risk of heart disease because it lowers blood pressure and reduces stress. The bottom-line here is simple, have more sex.
10. Cut the Sugar and Salt Intake
Sugar and salt are two of the biggest enemies of the heart. So, if you consume too much sugar and salt then slash your intake.
Sodium causes your body to hold water which can increase your blood pressure, which is one of the biggest risk factors for heart diseases. Sugar is another villain that can cause damage to the heart. It promotes metabolic syndrome which can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar (a cluster of conditions that increase the likelihood of cardiovascular ailments).
Heart disease is not only a man’s disease. For ladies, it’s just as important to be aware of keeping the heart healthy to prevent cardiovascular issues like heart attack and stroke at bay. The good news is that lifestyle changes like these can have a profound impact on keeping your heart, mind, and soul healthy.
[Disclaimer:Health-based content published by Best Self Media is not intended to be interpreted as medical advice, nor to replace the recommendations or counsel of a medical professional. Rather it is our intent to present valuable perspectives from the experiences or research of our contributors.]
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