The heart is often associated as being the source of emotions, but we sometimes forget just how important your heart is. Ensuring its proper and efficient function can have incredible benefits all throughout the body. Conversely, progressive heart disease can have profoundly damaging effects on your health, heavily affecting your respiratory and circulatory systems. The CDC lists heart disease as the number one cause of death in the United States.
The team of experts at Centerville Medical Center in Garland, TX take the heart health of our patients very seriously! Our goal is to raise awareness of heart disease and what our patients can do to strengthen their hearts to live long and healthy lives! Below are a list of everyday changes you can make to dramatically improve your heart health and ward off chronic heart disease.
Get Active and Exercise
Periods of moderate to intense exercise that gets your heart rate pumping is one of the best things you can do for your heart. Cardio has so many incidental benefits as well. Firstly, 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day releases endorphins and ‘feel-good chemicals’ that can reduce stress. Secondly, all of that exercise will increase your respiratory capacity, meaning your body can function more efficiently and put less strain on your heart.
Quitting smoking can be one of the most beneficial changes you can make for your health. Now we know that it can be incredibly challenging, but it can be done and the resulting health benefits are beyond compare! Smoking challenges so many of your internal systems at the same time that it puts incredible strain on the body. Your respiratory system is the first to be affected, limiting your oxygen intake.
As your body struggles to meet oxygen demands, your heart will have to work that much harder to compensate. Smoking also seriously inhibits your circulation, another indicator of poor cardiovascular health.
Foods for Heart Health
Something that is often overlooked when considering heart health, is the food that we consume! A significant portion of our health is determined by the foods we eat and the vitamins and nutrients within that food! Below is a list of food types that have incredible heart health benefits.
- Leafy greens are an excellent source of vitamin K and an excellent source of fiber
- Whole Oats, 3 servings per day have shown to decrease the risk of heart disease by 22% (NIH)
- Avocados are packed with healthy monosaturated fats as well as potassium, with one serving containing 28% of your daily recommended requirement.
- Fatty fish like salmon is loaded with omega-3’s which are renowned for improving heart health
- Berries are a rich source of antioxidants, great for their anti-inflammatory properties and preventing oxidation stress
- Nuts like walnuts and almonds are packed with essential nutrients like magnesium and copper and are proven to reduce cholesterol.
Reduce Stress Levels
When your body is under stress, a specific chemical known as cortisol is released in response. Cortisol serves an important function in the body, but consistently high levels actually begin to have a negative effect that can compromise internal systems, like the health of your heart.
If you feel as though you are suffering from chronic stress, finding ways to destress could quite literally save your life! It can be as simple as setting aside 15 minutes a day for meditation or mindfulness training, to collect your thoughts and calm your mind. Although stress may feel like a full-body phenomenon, it originates from the mind and therefore, can be managed.
Get Screened for Heart Disease
The experts at the Centerville Medical Center in Garland, TX offer a wide range of heart disease screenings that can serve as early detection for mild or chronic heart disease. Below is a list of example screening tests:
Lipid Panel Screenings: Lipid Panels are done to determine the different levels of fat that are in your blood. The three lipid levels we regularly scan for are:
LDL Cholesterol: Low-Density Lipoprotein is the “bad” cholesterol. It is what can cause plaque in the arteries.
HDL Cholesterol: High-Density Lipoprotein is the “good” cholesterol. A high HDL level is a contributing factor for preventing heart disease.
Triglycerides: You experience increased Triglyceride levels after eating. Triglycerides are common fats. They can contribute to heart disease, along with a low HDL and high LDL.
C-Reactive Protein (CRP) Screening: CRP has been linked to cardiovascular diseases, stroke, coronary heart disease, peripheral arterial disease, type 2 diabetes. C-reactive protein is produced by the body to address injury/infection. A high CRP level indicates a higher risk of experiencing heart problems.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening: Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening is a very simple procedure. You will lie on your back while an ultrasound is used to scan your abdomen, and any irregularities in the abdominal aorta are noted.
Glucose Screening: Once you’re 45, you should have your glucose levels checked. This can help identify a case of diabetes or insulin resistance. If any cardiovascular disease risk factors apply to you, it is advised to have your glucose levels checked every 2 years.
Blood Pressure: High blood pressure often shows no immediate symptoms, but is incredibly easy to check. Make sure to have your blood pressure monitored, at the very least, every 2 years, or more frequently if any risk factors of heart disease apply to you.
Early Detection Could Save Your Life!
If you are worried about your heart health or would like to know more about the screening options that are available to you, call us at (972) 619-7012 or book an appointment online with the specialists at Centerville Medical Center in Garland, TX today! A healthy heart is the foundation of a healthy life, take the first step towards better health!