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How To Maintain Your Heart Health

  • Category: News, Blogs
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  • Written By: Erin Wallner
How To Maintain Your Heart Health

Your heart is significant in keeping you in the best possible shape. Every day, it pumps blood to all areas of your body. Without your heart’s efforts, your muscles wouldn’t get oxygen, your brain couldn’t function, and your systems would go unnourished.

Given how important the heart is, you should engage in ways to keep your heart healthy. Below are five excellent (and relatively easy to apply) strategies doctors recommend for giving your heart lots of love.

  1. Know The Signs of a Heart Attack

A heart attack can come at any time and without warning. It’s a common misconception that heart attacks only happen to seniors. As one UF Health St. Johnspatient discovered, heart attacks occur across patients representing all age ranges. In this patient’s case, going to the ER quickly after experiencing chest pain saved his life.

What other symptoms of a possible heart attack besides pain in and around the chest? During a heart attack, people may feel chest pressure, shoulder pain, nausea, lightheadedness, sleepiness, or general discomfort in the torso, upper arms, and jaw.

  1. Practice Healthy Lifestyle Habits

What can you do to keep your heart healthy? One strategy is to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle. This typically means adding more cardiovascular-supporting activities to your daily routines and cleaning up your diet. While “junk food” might be tasty, excess sugars, fats, and salt can wreak havoc on your heart and put you at risk. An excellent way to tame your cravings is to drink lots of water, avoid processed foods, and eat more meals at home.

How does regular exercise improve cardiovascular function? In a nutshell, it keeps your heart toned and ready for action. Regarding healthy practices, go for ones that make your heart work harder and faster. Even if you have angina, which is chest pain related to poor blood flow, you can engage in angina physical exercise that’s low-intensity but high return. Walking, hiking, light jogging, swimming, and cycling are great starting points.

  1. See Your Healthcare Providers Regularly

Whether you have a known heart condition, you should make and keep your appointments with health care providers. For instance, you should see your primary care physician (PCP) at least once a year for a physical. Your PCP may order bloodwork as well. Bloodwork may be an extra step for you, but it’s critical. Your blood can help signal early heart issues before they become more prominent.

What if you feel like you can’t make all your visits or have transportation difficulties? You should at least avail yourself of telemedicine if offered. Virtual medical visits aren’t warranted for emergencies; they can fill a gap between in-person appointments. Plus, they’re suitable for checking in with your provider on prescriptions and changes in your health.

  1. Keep Your Stress Levels in Check

Stress is something that far too many people experience every day. According to reports, around two-thirds of adults in America live with some kind of stress. Unfortunately, stress doesn’t just have a mental effect. It has physical ones, too, including on your heart. 

When you’re under stress, your heart begins to beat faster. As a result, your blood pressure can skyrocket quickly above the generally-accepted norm of around 120/80. High blood pressure frequently correlates to heart-related problems like cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke. When you realize you’re under stress, engage in stress reducing activities like meditation, physical exercise, and therapy. You — and your heart — will be happier.

  1. Catch Enough Sleep

Everyone goes through sleeplessness once in a while. However, most adults need anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep nightly to feel their best. If you constantly get less than that, you’re putting your heart at risk.

Chronic sleep deprivation is linked to an increase in blood pressure. Additionally, getting poor sleep can leave you more stressed out and moody. To encourage your body to sleep better, try going to bed and waking at the same time each day. Also, limit alcohol and caffeine intake, and sleep in a dark room.

Your heart does so much for you. Make a few changes to show it the TLC it deserves. The experts at UF Health St. Johnsinclude world-class physicians, trained cardiology nurses, electrophysiologists and support teams, cardiothoracic surgeons, interventional and diagnostic cardiologists, and cardiovascular technologists. Need heart health services in or near St. Augustine, FL? Contact Flagler Health+.