Improved bleeding disorders care means that people are managing their condition better and living longer. The flip side is that more people are developing age-related health problems, such as heart disease. However, there are ways to change your lifestyle to reduce your risk.
Here are five simple ways to start taking better care of your heart.
One of the best ways to improve your heart health is to get it pumping on a regular basis. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity—for instance, a brisk walk or light bicycling—or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity, such as jogging or playing a sport.
A good way to monitor your physical activity level is by keeping track of your heart rate. First, estimate your maximum heart rate using this simple formula: Subtract your age from 220. (For example, a 40-year-old person’s estimated maximum heart rate is 180 beats per minute: 220 minus 40.) According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exercise performed between 64% and 76% of maximum heart rate is moderate intensity; a heart rate between 77% and 93% of maximum is considered vigorous exercise.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Steer clear of foods that are high in trans and saturated fats, avoid sugary drinks, and go easy on red and processed meats. Your diet should focus on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish, vegetable oils and lean meats such as poultry.
A recent study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health revealed that following these guidelines will lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Manage Your Medical Conditions
Some conditions—including hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes—can increase your risk of heart disease. They are common, and can often go unnoticed; in fact, 68 million Americans have high blood pressure, and nearly 20% don’t even know it. By regularly checking and managing your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, you’ll promote good heart health.
Keep Your Stress in Check
It doesn’t just take a toll on your mental health: Stress can actually increase the inflammation in your body, resulting in conditions such as hypertension that hurt your heart health. There are a number of ways to reduce your stress, including exercise, regular sleep, meditation, yoga, therapy and practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises.
Smoking cigarettes has a staggering impact on your heart health: People who smoke are two to four times more likely to get heart disease, and about 20% of all deaths from heart disease are directly related to smoking.
Though it’s difficult to quit smoking, there are several established methods, including nicotine replacement therapy, which has smokers consume a controlled amount of nicotine from sources other than cigarettes to help satisfy the craving to smoke and to ease withdrawal symptoms.