Heart disease is nothing to take lightly – it’s the No. 1 killer of both men and women. But fortunately, there are things you can start doing today to decrease your risk. Sanjay Bose, MD, a Baptist Health Medical Group cardiologist, offers advice and techniques for a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Get adequate sleep at the right times. It’s not only the duration of sleep that’s important but also the quality of sleep. Those who don’t get enough quality shut-eye can develop high blood pressure and heart rhythm problems, and they’re at a higher risk of having a heart attack. And turns out there is something to that “early-to-bed, early-to-rise thing” – studies show the later you stay up, the more likely you are to adopt unhealthy behaviors, such as overeating.
Walk it off – exercise. Walking for five days each week for 30 minutes at a time is ideal. Walking for exercise should be a step up from the kind of walking you’d do to get around the house or office – brisk enough to make it a little difficult to carry on a normal conversation.
Don’t shun your doctor. Getting regular checkups helps you to know your risk profile for heart disease. And it’s better to begin the process sooner rather than later. Screening for heart issues earlier in life can help lead off any potential problems.
Control your weight. Your diet should have a good balance between carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fat. Monitor your intake of fiber (to be sure you get enough) and salt (to be sure you don’t get too much). Other good measures include controlling refined sugar and focusing on whole grains and complex carbohydrates. Keep portions small.
Stress reduction is important. Having a positive outlook on life and enjoying day-to-day activities are key to a happier and healthier heart. Depression increases the risk of a heart attack.
Connecting with others may also be a lifesaver. In cultures with a lot of socializing, people tend to have longer lives.
As Dr. Bose puts it, achieving heart health is about “making sure that life is in harmony and things are in balance.”
Learn more about Baptist Health Heart Care and the services we offer.