4 steps to better heart health
Twenty-four hours a day, your heart works hard for you. But what are you doing in return? To keep beating—faithfully and forcefully—your heart needs attention.
What exactly does it need?
Here are four of the most powerful ways to help protect your heart, according to Martin O’Riordan, MD, Chief of Cardiology at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital.
- If you smoke, try hard to quit. “Any amount of smoking, even light smoking, damages your heart,” Dr. O’Riordan cautions. Don’t be discouraged if you’ve tried to quit before without luck. It often takes several tries to stop for good.
- Move more. Aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity—such as a brisk walk—on most days of the week. But start slow if you don’t exercise regularly. And get your doctor’s OK if you have health problems.
- Make smart food choices. Eat less fatty meat and more plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables and beans. Focus on low-fat dairy products; whole grains; and healthy fats, such as olive and canola oil. And go easy on sugary foods and drinks.
- Shed extra pounds. Even a small amount of weight loss—only 5 to 10 percent of your current weight—can help your heart if you’re overweight.
And what if you’re already living with heart disease? The cardiologists at our award-winning heart program are ready to help.
“You’ll receive the same quality of care at Mercy Fitzgerald as you would at a major academic hospital—but close to home and with a very caring touch,” Dr. O’Riordan says.