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Treat Your Heart in Heart Health Month

Feb. 28, 2017 at midnight


February is the month of love, and also of the heart. In the US, heart attacks and stroke are the leading causes of death among men and women of all ages and ethnicities. There are numerous factors that affect the health of your heart, ranging from a genetic predisposition to high cholesterol and high blood pressure, to diet and overall activity levels. Many of these factors are lifestyle choices, so your choices can have a huge impact on your heart health. As health and medical professionals at the Texas Spine & Joint Longview Clinic, we'd like to offer you a few tips so you can have a healthier, happier heart.

Consider your diet carefully

Obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol all put incredible strain on your heart and circulatory system. Luckily, these can be controlled with a sensible diet, which is a good place to start on your road to a healthy heart. Try and keep to the following:

  • Lower your salt intake. While salty food is indeed delicious, it can raise your blood pressure quite dramatically. Start by slowly reducing the amount of salt you add to food to give your taste buds time to adapt.
  • Watch your fat intake. Moderate amounts of fat are essential for hormone production and general health, but overdoing it can lead to increased cholesterol and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Instead of eliminating all fats from your diet, try to reduce your intake of trans and saturated fats.
  • Eat smaller portions. Many of us overeat without even knowing it. When cooking at home, consider using smaller plates and deliberately cook less food than you normally do. When eating out, eat until you feel moderately full and then take the rest of the food home to eat later—or the following day. There is no need to finish everything on your plate.

Exercise

Studies have repeatedly shown that even moderate amounts of exercise will lead to a healthier heart and reduced chances of cardiovascular disease. Start with a gentle stroll and then work your way up or find an activity that appeals to you.

Talk to your doctor about heart health

An annual check-up with your family doctor can give you a clear indication of how healthy your heart is. You can then use this knowledge to set goals and milestones to help you achieve—and maintain—better heart health. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and take the advice your doctor gives you seriously.



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