How to give your heart some TLC
Your heart works hard for you every day. So what can you do in return to help keep it happy and healthy?
“There are many things you can do to keep your heart going strong,” says Oren L. Friedman, MD, FACC, Chief of the Division of Cardiology at Nazareth Hospital. “As a bonus: All of them are good for your overall health too.”
Try these five heart-smart tips:
- Eat a healthy diet. Focus on fresh fruits and vegetables. And don’t forget whole grains, which are high in fiber. “Read food labels so you can avoid foods high in saturated fat,” Dr. Friedman says. “Choose foods low in sodium to help control your blood pressure.”
- Stay at a healthy weight. Being overweight raises your risk for heart disease.
- Get regular exercise. “Aim for 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week,” Dr. Friedman says.
- Don’t smoke. You know that smoking harms your lungs, but did you know it also hurts your heart? If you smoke, work hard to quit.
- Get tested. These tests can help pinpoint if you’re at risk for heart disease:
- Blood pressure. Since high blood pressure has no symptoms, you should have your pressure checked regularly.
- Cholesterol. Have your cholesterol levels measured at least every five years.
- Blood sugar. Having diabetes raises the risk for heart disease. Ask your doctor how often you should have your blood glucose (sugar) levels tested.