LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KATV) —
Susan Jones with QualChoice talks on how we can improve our heart health.
1. Get more sleep
Sleep is good for your heart.
Studies show that young and middle-age adults who slept 7 hours a night had less calcium in their arteries (an early sign of heart disease) than those who slept 5 hours or less or those who slept 9 hours or more.
If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night, talk to your doctor about what changes you can make to help.
2. Check your blood pressure
If your blood pressure gets too high, the extra force can damage artery walls and create scar tissue. This makes it harder for blood and oxygen to get to and from your heart. The heart has to pump harder and gets worn out faster.
Cutting back on salt, limit alcohol to no more than one to two drinks a day, favor healthy eating habits, manage your stress and work out can help. If not, your doctor might recommend you also take medication.
Get your blood pressure checked every 3-5 years if you’re 18-39. If you’re 40 or older, or if you have high blood pressure, check it every year.
3. Find out if you have diabetes
Millions of people don’t know that they have this condition. Over time, high blood sugar damages arteries and makes heart disease more likely.
If you have borderline high blood sugar, also called prediabetes, take action now to turn things around.
Work with your doctor on your lifestyle and any medicine that you may need.
4. Be more active
Pay attention to how much time you spend seating down and reduce that time.
Break up long periods of sitting by standing or walking while doing things like talking on the phone or watching TV.
Aim for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week of moderate exercise.
5. Clean up
Your heart works best when it runs on clean fuel. That means lots of whole, plant-based foods (like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds) and fewer refined or processed foods (like white bread, pasta, crackers and cookies).
One of the fastest ways to clean up your diet is to cut out sugary beverages like soda.
6. Ditch the cigarettes, real and electronic
Smoking and secondhand smoke are bad for your heart. If you smoke, quit, and don’t spend time around others who smoke as well.
E-cigarettes are popular, but they’re not completely problem-free.
They still do contain nicotine, so your goal should be to quit completely, not just switch to a less toxic version.
7. Do more of what you love
Managing stress in a healthy way, whether it’s meditation, yoga or exercise, is really important.
For more information on QualChoice, click here.