3 Steps to a Healthy Heart

Cardiology

Some cardiac problems, such as congenital heart disease, are structural defects that are present from birth, which can only be addressed by treatments such as interventional cardiology. However, a large percentage of heart disease is caused by lifestyle factors, which can be addressed through making behavioral changes. Here are a few easy tips to prevent this type of heart failure:

Move Your Body
Heart disease costs the United States over $32 billion in medical treatment, healthcare services, and missed days of work. Many of the treatments used to address heart failure, such as cardiac surgery, are employed to respond to heart problems that could have been prevented through lifestyle changes such as improved diet and exercise. For instance, research has shown that physical activity can drastically reduce the risk of heart disease in older adults, halving their chances of heart failure through exercise. This exercise need not be strenuous or lengthy; even 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity such as walking, cleaning, or gardening can impact your cardiac health in profound ways. Making small changes in your physical lifestyle, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or biking to work, can dramatically reduce your risk for heart disease.

Reduce Your Sodium Intake
High levels of salt in your diet can be a significant contributing factor to heart disease. Too much sodium causes your body to retain fluid in various tissues, and this fluid retention can lead to high blood pressure, one of the leading causes of heart failure. In fact, many treatment plans commonly prescribed by a heart specialist include reducing sodium levels in your diet. Since most commercially produced foods today already have quite a lot of sodium added to them as a flavor enhancer and a preservative, adding extra salt to your diet through snacks like potato chips, salty pretzels, and french fries can cause your sodium levels to skyrocket. Try replacing salty snacks with crunchy vegetables or low-sodium popcorn in order to prevent this excessive intake.

Clear Your Mind
That’s right, meditation can help prevent heart disease! Stress is one of the number one contributing factors to cardiac disease, as it can cause hypertension, blood clots, and hormonal imbalances, all of which can lead to heart failure. Many Americans have high-stress jobs that occupy a lot of their time and mental energy, and the accumulation of this stress over time can take a heavy toll on the body, particularly the heart. Combat the pressure of this daily stress by taking short breaks throughout the day to meditate and clear the mind, and your heart will thank you later!

Though heart disease is common in the United States, it is largely preventable through simple lifestyle changes. Following these easy tips can increase your longevity, decrease your medical bills, and improve your overall quality of life.

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