- Quit smoking and convince others around you to do so.
Smoking is very toxic and it causes early heart disease, raises blood pressure and can lead to sudden major cardiac events. Consider a smoking cessation class
- Eat a healthy diet, rich in vegetables, fruit and whole grains, and limit your consumption of saturated and trans fats.
Choose lean cuts of meat and remember that fish, such as salmon, tends to be better for you than large portions of red meat, according to the American Heart Association. “The biggest thing I can tell people is look at your food labels because most of the time people just don’t really have any idea what they’re eating, and look at your portion sizes,” said Tara Mudd, a nurse practitioner with Norton Cardiovascular Associates.
- Learn how to cook healthier meals.
If you have an iPad, you can try a new app, the Go Red for Women Recipes for the Heart Magazine 2013. It contains more than 50 recipes for main dishes and other items, such as salads and snacks. More information: http://bit.ly/159B3oc
- Know the signs of a heart attack.
Besides chest pain or discomfort, your jaw, neck or back may hurt, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You also may feel weak, light-headed or faint; have pain or discomfort in your arms or shoulder; or be short of breath. Getting medical attention could save heart muscle — and your life.
- Learn hands-only CPR and encourage others to do so.
This type of CPR has been proven effective and simply requires pushing hard and fast on the center of the chest. You can learn more at http://bit.ly/LhVoQl and watch a video, featuring “Staying Alive,” the disco anthem made famous by the Bee Gees.
- Know your numbers.
Find out your blood pressure, waist size, weight, cholesterol and fasting blood sugar numbers.
- Take a brief online health assessment at www.heart.org/mylifecheck.
After you answer some questions about your lifestyle, eating habits and important numbers, such as blood pressure, the tool offers suggestions on how to improve.
- Keep your blood pressure under control.
That includes taking medication as prescribed, not smoking, and being sure to check your blood pressure on a regular basis. If you only get it tested at the doctor’s office, you may go months or years without knowing your blood pressure is high.
- Have your cholesterol checked, too.
It’s like high blood pressure in that “you can’t feel how your cholesterol is. You can’t feel if it’s high or if it’s low.
- Get active, even if it’s just walking in your neighborhood.
“Being active is one of the best things you can do for your heart,” Mudd said. She encourages people to work out for at least 10 minutes on three days a week and then build up from there.
- Get your heart revved up with some partner or couple’s exercise.
The American Council on Exercise has examples at http://bit.ly/XySMOL that include the competitive 5 Cone Drill — similar to running through an obstacle course.
- Take steps to lose weight.
“One of the best ways to do that is through “Weight Watchers because it teaches you weight control and ways of eating smart,” Mudd said.
For more information on slimming down, go to the Weight-control Information Network at http://win.niddk.nih.gov.
- Diabetics should take steps to control the condition.
People with diabetes tend to develop heart disease and stroke at an earlier age, according to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse.
- Watch your alcohol intake.
Some research suggests that drinking wine or alcohol may have heart-health benefits, such as increasing good cholesterol, according to the American Heart Association. But the group doesn’t recommend that people start drinking to achieve them. If you do choose to drink, the association suggests that men limit themselves to one or two drinks a day and that women stop at one a day.
Taken from an article written by Darla Carter | email@example.com | The Courier-Journal