Follow your heart. Wear your heart on your sleeve. Heart of gold.
There are many common phrases that focus on the heart — yet many people forget to do the same. With your heart playing such a big role in your overall well-being, it’s important to think about one of the biggest threats to your health: heart disease.
What is Heart Disease?
- Heart disease is an umbrella term that includes multiple kinds of heart conditions such as coronary artery disease (CAD).
- Symptoms of heart disease can include a heart attack, heart failure, or heart arrhythmia (palpitations, or a fluttery feeling in your chest).
- Your risk for heart disease is impacted by many factors — but there’s a lot you can do to reduce your risk.
Different health conditions can put you at a higher risk for heart disease, and this might lead you to believe that it’s all biological and just a risk you’re born with. In reality, the factors that can increase your risk for heart disease can come from your body, your habits, and even your environment — meaning there might be more at play than you think.
Here are some other factors that can impact your risk for heart disease.
As you get older, your body will experience many changes. Some of these you can see, like your hair going gray — but some are happening inside your body, like changes in your blood vessels and heart. This can increase your risk for heart disease, which is why a healthy lifestyle is important at any age.
Anxiety and Stress
Mental health is often forgotten about when it comes to physical health, but anxiety and stress can have a significant effect on your heart. Anxiety and stress can cause your heart rate and blood pressure to increase — while also limiting the flow of blood to your heart.
Anxiety and stress are a part of life, but when this becomes your constant state (like with an anxiety disorder), it can cause calcium buildup and heart disease.
Learn more about how to reduce stress for a healthier heart.
Taking care of your teeth isn’t just for looks — it can also protect your heart. It might seem unrelated, but brushing and flossing regularly can help prevent plaque build-up and gum disease — which can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
While heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US regardless of gender, many people don’t consider some risk factors that may be more specific to women. Your risk for heart disease may increase due to stress, depression, pregnancy complications, or even lower levels of estrogen after menopause.
Not Having a Primary Care Provider
During your annual wellness visit, your Duly primary care provider measures your blood pressure and your cholesterol levels. High blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol levels can lead to a bigger risk for a heart attack, stroke, or heart failure. Your Duly primary care provider plays a key role in monitoring your heart health and the early detection of heart diseases.
Physical activity is one of the best ways to focus on your heart health — and your overall health. A lack of physical activity in your routine can lead to future heart problems, but just a little more movement each day can make a big difference. Try aerobic exercises like walking, running, biking, swimming, or dancing to give your heart a boost.
If you’re looking for a reason to quit smoking, your heart can give you a good one. Smoking and heart disease often go hand in hand, and while it may not be easy to quit smoking, it’s definitely worth it.
25% of heart disease or stroke deaths are caused by smoking. Your Duly primary care provider can help connect you with the support and tips you need to help you quit today.
What you eat can play a big role in your heart health, but eating a heart-healthy diet isn’t as difficult as you may think. There are some foods to limit — like foods high in sodium, saturated fats, trans fats, and added sugars — but by focusing on tasty foods to add to your diet, you may find a heart-healthy diet easier.
Try working some of these into your weekly shopping list:
- Whole grains, like oatmeal, brown rice, and whole grain bread
- Fruits, like bananas, oranges, and apples
- Vegetables, like spinach, and broccoli
- Low-fat dairy products
- Proteins, like chicken, fish, and beans
Show Your Heart Some Love With Duly
Every day, your heart shows up to work with a big job — to keep you healthy and help you do the things you want to do. Your heart makes it possible for you to meet your health goals, whether that’s running a marathon or increasing your steps each day.
Your heart health journey can change with just a little attention and small changes to your routine. With such a big role in your well-being, it’s always smart to give your heart a little more love.
Duly Health And Care is here to help you be your best self on your heart health journey. Reach out to your primary care provider today to build a more heart-healthy lifestyle.