5 Tips to Stay Heart Healthy
There are many alterations you can make to your daily life to lead a healthy lifestyle. Consider adopting these tips to live a heart healthy life.
Increasing your daily activity is a great and effective way to get heart healthy. Incorporate the ideas below into your daily routine:
- Lack of exercise is a proven risk factor for heart disease.
- Physical activity helps maintain weight, blood pressure and diabetes – all risk factors for heart disease.
- A woman should exercise at her target heart rate for 20-30 minutes a day, five times per week.
- One of the easiest ways to begin exercising is walking. So walk whenever you can!
2. Follow a Heart Healthy Diet
Small changes in your diet can make a big impact on the health of your heart. Try some of the tips here to change your diet:
- Make sure to eat plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables and whole grains every day.
- Avoid trans-fats. They’re commonly found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
- Eat fish that contain Omega-3 fatty acids. Our bodies do not produce Omega 3s – they can only be obtained from food. Great sources include: albacore tuna, salmon, trout, and anchovies.
- Fiber helps block the body from absorbing fat and cholesterol from food. Oatmeal is a quick and easy source.
3. Get Help to Quit Smoking!
Smoking causes 150 percent more deaths from heart disease than lung cancer in women. Women who smoke are 2-6 times more likely to suffer a heart attack. And smoking increases the risk of stroke.
4. Heart Attack Signs and Symptoms in Women
Women experience different symptoms when a heart attack hits. While men feel a crushing pain in their chest, women more often feel sensations that are not as obvious. So it's even more important for women to recognize the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.
5. Know Your Numbers
You are the captain of your ship, responsible for your heart health! Know your measurements for these important values:
High LDL levels, “bad cholesterol,” can lead to cholesterol build-up blockage in the arteries, while HDL, “good cholesterol,” removes cholesterol from the blood making higher HDL levels optimal. Learn your desired cholesterol levels:
- Optimal total cholesterol - less than 200 mg/dL
- Optimal LDL:
- Less than 160 mg/dL for people at low risk for heart disease.
- Less than 130 mg/dL for people at intermediate risk for heart disease.
- Less than 100 mg/dL for people at high risk for heart disease
- Optimal HDL cholesterol - 50 mg/dL or higher
A healthy blood pressure level also helps to keep your heart healthy. Discover if your blood pressure level is in a safe range:
- Optimal - less than 120 / 80 mm Hg
- Pre-Hypertension - between 120 / 80 mm Hg and 139 / 89 mm Hg
- Hypertension - 140 / 90 mm Hg and above
Calculate your BMI
The Body Mass Index (BMI) measurement uses a mathematical formula that measures both a person's height and weight in determining obesity. To calculate your BMI, multiply your weight by 703, and divide the answer by your height in inches. Divide this figure by your height again.
(weight in pounds x 703) / (height in inches) = BMI
- Underweight - below 18.5
- Normal - 18.5 - 24.9
- Overweight - 25 - 29.9
- Obese - 30 and above
It is suggested that women should have a fasting blood glucose test every three years. Learn what your glucose should measure:
- Normal - 99 mg/dL or below
- Pre-Diabetes - 100-125 mg/dL
- Diabetes - 126 mg/dL and above