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10 Ways to Reduce Risks for Heart Disease

From the Fitness & Wellness After Hysterectomy Articles List

Woman finding list of ways to keep heart healthyWhat can I do to take care of my heart during menopause?

Because your risk of heart disease increases during menopause, it’s important that you do all you can to keep your heart healthy and strong. While you can’t avoid menopause, you can avoid habits and lifestyle choices which have a negative impact on your heart.

Whether you are in perimenopause, natural menopause, or surgical menopause, make it a point to start today to make better choices for better health. Following a healthy lifestyle before and during menopause can keep your risks for heart disease lower. As there are several factors affecting your risk, it's also important to talk to your doctor about your personal and family medical history, lifestyle, and medications to determine if you are already at high risk for heart disease.

Here are 10 ways you can be heart healthy and work to prevent heart disease.

1. Eat well.

Following a healthy diet is important for a healthy heart. Avoid foods high in fat, sugar, carbs, and empty calories, and instead focus on choices like fruits, veggies, lean meat, and whole grains. Eating well is important for your heart and overall health.

2. Exercise regularly.

Regular exercise is good for your heart and overall health. You should strive for 30 minutes a day, at least 5 times per week. While something is better than nothing, aerobic fitness might be best. These can include walking, jogging, swimming, skiing, bicycling, and dancing.

3. Maintain healthy weight.

If you are carrying some extra weight, your heart is having to work harder--a risk for heart disease. The closer to your ideal body weight, the better. If you are overweight, work with your doctor to develop a plan to help you lose weight safely–your heart will thank you.

4. Manage your overall health.

Uncontrolled diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol issues are just some health concerns contributing to heart disease risks. It’s important to take care of your overall health and manage any chronic health conditions you may have. Not doing so can increase your risk for heart disease.

5. Yearly exams and screenings.

Part of managing your health is working regularly with your medical team. It’s important to have annual well-woman exams and undergo any necessary screenings which could indicate a problem. If you have a family history of heart disease, your doctor needs to know to help you minimize your risks.

6. Don’t smoke.

Smoking significantly increases your risk of heart disease, and quitting can lower those risks. Work with your doctor to develop a plan to help you safely quit smoking. You should also avoid being exposed to secondhand smoke and other tobacco products.

7. Limit alcohol.

More than one drink of alcohol per day increases your risks for heart disease. Too much alcohol also puts you at risk for obesity, high blood pressure, heart failure, and other cardiac concerns. Talk to your doctor about what alcohol moderation means for you.

8. Monitor your blood pressure.

You may have no symptoms to let you know you have high blood pressure, so it’s important to monitor it regularly so you can catch any changes early. High blood pressure (hypertension) can damage your arteries affecting their ability to transport blood to your body’s organs. Damaged arteries also make the heart work harder and can lead to a blockage. Heart failure, heart attack, and heart damage can all occur as a result of high blood pressure.

9. Sleep.

Not getting enough sleep can put you at risk for coronary heart disease. It may cause high blood pressure, put you at risk for type 2 diabetes, and not let your heart get enough rest. It can also increase inflammation and the production of stress hormones, negatively impacting your cardiovascular system. If you’ve been told you snore or you always feel tired, it’s important to talk to your doctor to find out if you have sleep apnea. Untreated, it also increases your risk for heart disease.

10. Manage stress.

It’s important to learn to manage stress. When stressed, you may overeat, not exercise, smoke, or drink alcohol, habits which are risk factors for heart disease. Stress can also cause high blood pressure and an increased heart rate, damaging the arteries. While you may not be able to avoid all stressful situations, you can make changes to lower your stress level. Exercise, therapy, and relaxation techniques can all help you mange stress more effectively.

This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

10-28-2015 - 12:41 PM


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