Best of To Your Health 2018: Heart and vascular

December 28, 2018 Providence Health Team

Your heart is the engine that drives the systems of your body, and Providence St. Joseph Health is your partner in helping you keep it healthy. Let’s review some of the helpful heart topics we’ve talked about this year in the To Your Health blog. 

Don’t lie around; get some exercise

You may be tired of hearing it, but one of the best things you can do for your heart — and the rest of your body — is to get exercise

How much exercise? Check out the guidelines offered by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department. Adults ages 18 to 64, according to the agency, should get 2-½ hours a week of moderate intensity aerobic activity and do strengthening exercises at least two days a week.

Eat a healthy diet

If there’s one thing we Americans have in abundance, it’s access to delicious food. It’s also easy to access advice for healthy eating, such as making heart-healthy breakfasts, eating cheese in moderation and eating more vegetables, or even a plant-based diet.

Here’s a great way to start: Our series on “Habits of Healthy Grocery Shoppers,” Parts 1, 2 and 3.

Make daily choices that are good for your heart

Lots of things you do affect the heart. For example, having blood sugar levels that are too high — a condition often referred to as prediabetes — increases your risk of having a heart attack. 

How do you lower your blood sugar? For some people, it’s a genetic issue that must be treated with medication. But for most of us, the primary culprit for high blood sugar is a sedentary lifestyle — and that’s something you can do something about.

In other words, see the above advice about diet and exercise. If you take care of your body by keeping your weight under control, you’re helping your heart.

Here’s a breakdown of heart-health tips according to your age.

You can bounce back, even after heart problems

It can be scary to be diagnosed with congestive heart failure. It’s a scary term. But the good news is that most people can make a complete recovery, whether or not surgery is needed. Again, exercise and a healthy diet, with limited intake of salt, is a key factor in how well you recover.

Download our free booklet, Living with Congestive Heart Failure:

Living with Congestive Heart Failure

Similarly, many people recover fully after a heart attack. If you feel the symptoms of a heart attack, such as chest pain and a shortness of breath, seek medical help immediately. Also, chew an aspirin to help reduce the likelihood of a blood clot.

Read and download our free Heart to Heart Patient Education Guide:

Heart to Heart Patient Education Guide

Further reading

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asks a provocative question: Is your heart older than you? One in 2 men have a heart age five or more years older than their actual age and the same is true for two in five women, according to the CDC, which notes that about three in four heart attacks and strokes are due to risk factors that increase heart age.

Read more helpful heart and vascular health articles like this one. Subscribe to our blog and you’ll never miss a health update.

As always, you should have regular visits with a health care provider who knows you and your health history. To find a Providence St. Joseph provider near you, consult our online directory. 

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.

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