What helps you get through each day? You may say it’s your morning cup of coffee, a yoga class or your favorite TV show. All the activities that help get you through your day play a vital role in your heart health. By not taking care of your heart, you could be putting yourself at risk for developing heart disease. This could lead to you becoming one of the 610,000 people who die each year from heart disease in the United States. Whoa, that’s scary.

 

Many things factor into heart health, including:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Diet
  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Physical activity
  • Hygiene

Though some of these factors are not within your control, like age and sex, many of these factors are. For example, washing your hands can help prevent a viral infection that could put you at a greater risk for a heart infection. Stress can cause damage to arteries or worsen other contributors to heart disease. Diets high in fats, salts, sugar or cholesterol can lead to the development of heart disease. You have the power to prevent all of these.

 

So what steps can you take to better care for your heart?

  • Increase activity levels. Whether it’s going on a 30-minute walk or shooting hoops, exercising is a great way to improve not just your heart health, but your overall well-being.
  • Eat healthy. When you replace some unhealthy foods with more fruits and vegetables, your heart will thank you.
  • Don’t drink your calories. By cutting out sugar-sweetened beverages from your diet, you can cut more than 100 calories from your diet each day.
  • Take a deep breath. By taking time to breathe slowly and deeply each day, you could reduce stress and relax, leading to lower blood pressure!
  • Wash your hands. It may seem like a no-brainer, but washing your hands with soap and water often will protect your heart from infections.

At UnityPoint Health, you’ll know your heart is in good hands. Contact a primary care provider at a UnityPoint Clinic today to make sure your heart health is what it should be. Physicians can also make referrals to the Trinity Muscatine Cardiology Clinic to keep your heart care close to home.  If you already have a cardiologist and want to change to a locally based physician, call the Trinity Muscatine Cardiology Clinic at (563) 262-2000.