Happy Heart Month: Tips for a Heart Healthy Lifestyle

February is Heart Month, so commit (or recommit) to a heart healthy lifestyle today!  We have included a few tips below to help you on your journey.

  • Engage in regular moderate aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes five days a week or more vigorous workouts at least 20 minutes three times a week.  Find a workout buddy, get up and get moving!
  • Maintain a normal body weight and adopt a diet low in salt, saturated and transfats and high in unsaturated fats (fish, avocado, etc.) like the Mediterranean Diet.
  • Take fish oil supplements.
  • Limit alcoholic intake to no more than 1/2 to 1 drink per day for women and 1-2 drinks per day for men.
  • Avoid smoking and recreational drug use.
  • Know your blood pressure.  72 million Americans over age 20 have high blood pressure.  Blood pressue over 140/90 mmHg and over 130/80 mmHg in diabetics increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, aneurysm, and kidney damage.
  • Know your cholesterol.  High levels (over 100 mg/dl) of LDL (low-density lipoprotein), or “bad cholesterol”, are dangerous, and low levels (under 40 mg/dl in men and under 55 mg/dl in women) of HDL (high-density lipoprotein), or “good cholesterol”, increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Nearly 40 million Americans have high cholesterol levels.
  • Know your family medical history.  Family history is an important risk factor in heart disease.  If you don’t know, ASK!
  • Schedule regular medical check-ups with a trusted physician who can help you identify your risk factors for heart disease.  He or she can also recommend diagnostic exams and other protective steps such as a daily aspirin or other medications to control cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes.

Click here for a brief video of Dr. P.K. Shah discussing the importance of a general cardiologist in guiding patients through
heart disease treatment.

  • Stress, depression, and negative emotions have also been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.  Find those activies which bring you joy and peace, and make them a part of your daily routine.
  • Avoid hormone replacement unless you have severe menopausal symptoms.
  • Know the symptoms of a heart attack, and learn CPR.  You never know when you might be called upon to help save a life.

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