Heart disease is a common problem. Nearly half of American adults suffer from some form of heart disease, according to the American Heart Association. Although heart disease can lead to serious health complications and be fatal if left untreated, it can be managed successfully with a combination of a healthy diet, lifestyle modifications, and medication.
Heart disease isn’t always preventable, but knowing your risks can help you get early treatment. At Midwest Regional Health Services, our team of primary care doctors and specialists offer a range of services including cholesterol and hypertension management at our office in Omaha, Nebraska.
What are the different types of heart disease?
Coronary artery disease (CAD) or coronary heart disease (CHD) is the most common type of heart disease in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When you have coronary artery disease, the blood flow to your heart becomes restricted, increasing your risk of having a heart attack.
Poor flow results from plaque buildup in the arteries, which causes the vessels to narrow. Plaque buildup in the arteries that supply blood to your arms and legs is known as peripheral artery disease.
Plaque buildup in the arteries that supply blood to your brain is known as carotid artery disease, which can cause stroke.
Just about anyone can develop heart (cardiovascular) disease, but certain factors contribute to and increase your risk, including:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Unhealthy diet
- Sedentary lifestyle
A family history of heart disease may also increase your risk. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. Women are often diagnosed with heart disease at an older age and have different symptoms than men, so it’s important to know and understand your personal risk even if you lead a relatively healthy lifestyle.
4 wellness-promoting habits to manage your heart disease
The good news is that it’s never too late (or too early) to take control and make your heart health a priority. Here are four wellness habits and lifestyle changes you can implement to lower and manage your risk of cardiovascular disease:
1. Get (and stay) active
You don’t have to run marathons (if you don’t want to) or cycle hundreds of miles a week to keep your heart strong and healthy. A combination of cardio, strength training, and stretching for flexibility and balance are the ideal combination for cardiovascular and overall health.
It’s always a good idea to consult with a doctor before starting a new fitness program, but the general recommendation is 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity at least five times per week.
That can be anything from running and swimming to taking a brisk walk around your neighborhood before or after work.
2. Eat for a healthy heart
You don’t have to completely deprive yourself to enjoy a heart-healthy diet. Instead, try to limit sugar, sodium, and alcohol and focus on adding vegetables, fruit, nuts, fish, and lean meat to your diet.
3. Don’t ignore your mental and emotional health
Ignoring stress can take a toll on every aspect of your health, including your cardiovascular health. Whether it’s through therapy, relaxing activities like yoga and meditation, or reading before bed, less stress in your life is good for your heart.
4. Know your personal risk
Many people don’t know they have heart disease until it’s become advanced, and you may not always experience symptoms right away. Routine check-ups are an important tool to monitor your cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and other vital signs. Monitoring your health is especially important if you have other health conditions like diabetes.
To learn more about heart disease prevention and treatment and what you can do to manage your risk, contact Midwest Regional Health Services today to schedule an appointment with a primary care physician.