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10 Habits to Break for a Healthy Heart

From the Fitness & Wellness After Hysterectomy Articles List

10 Habits to Break for a Healthy HeartI know I should eat healthy and exercise, but are there some things I should stop doing to reduce my risk for heart disease?


You know eating well and exercising regularly is good for your heart. You may also know you should watch your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar. But what else can you do, or not do, to reduce your risk of heart disease? Are there other steps you can take to have a healthy heart? Yep!

It’s important to keep your heart happy and healthy if you want to reduce your risks for heart disease. Here are 10 unhealthy habits you may have that are not good for your heart. Breaking them can reduce your risk for heart disease and increase your overall health.

1. Sitting most of the time.

Even if you have a regular exercise routine, it’s not enough if you are sitting most of the time. Your heart is a muscle so it needs to be working throughout your day. Bursts of exercise a few times a week, or even once a day, are better than nothing, but it’s better if you get moving several times a day. Make it a habit to park away from the door, take the long way to the printer, and use the restroom the farthest from your desk. When watching TV, build in some exercises during commercials and use your treadmill during the show.

2. Skipping the floss.

Did you know there’s a connection between gum disease and heart disease? While it’s unknown if or how there’s a direct connection, those with gum disease tend to also have heart disease. It might be from the increase in inflammation, or it may be that factors that contribute to gum disease also increase risks for heart disease. Besides regular brushing and flossing, talk to your dentist about ways you can reduce your risks for gum disease. Whatever the connection between your teeth and heart, reducing your risk for gum disease may also reduce some risks for heart disease.

3. Smoking and being around secondhand smoke.

Smoking damages your heart, and breathing secondhand smoke can, too. If you are a smoker, talk to your doctor today about quitting. If you are frequently exposed to secondhand smoke, take steps to avoid it. One of the best ways to reduce your risk for heart disease is to get away from smoke–yours and others.

4. Drinking more than one alcoholic drink per day.

You may have heard that some alcohol is good for your heart. But do you know that for women that means only 4 oz of wine or one 12 oz beer per day? Any more than that can be damaging to your heart. If you regularly drink more than 4 oz of wine or 12 oz of beer, you need to stop. More than that can increase your risks for heart disease.

5. Snoring.

While you don’t choose whether or not to snore, you can choose whether or not to ignore it. If you have been told you snore or you wake up exhausted, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor to see if you have sleep apnea. Untreated, it can increase your blood pressure drastically, putting you at risk for a damaged heart.

6. Treating salt like a food group.

Salt is a condiment, not a food group. It should not make up a large portion of any meal! Too much salt can increase your blood pressure and thus put you at risk for a heart attack or stroke. A pinch is all you need, so learn to taste before you add salt and explore other seasonings and herbs you can use in place of salt.

7. Ignoring your moods.

Be happy! Easier said than done sometimes, but being happy is good for your heart. If you find you feel discouraged and down on a regular basis, you need to talk to your doctor. Anxiety, depression, and stress can all have a negative impact on your heart. Unfortunately, they can go along with menopause, so women have to be extra diligent about watching for and treating symptoms. Learn to manage stress, find ways to bring joy to your life, and seek medical help for depression–it’s important for your heart physically and emotionally!

8. Not getting enough zzzz.

Being tired can start a train reaction that’s bad for your heart. You can be more apt to experience stress, mood swings, and overeating. If you are exhausted, you aren’t likely to exercise. Lack of sleep also affects blood pressure, blood sugar, and inflammation–in a bad way. Try to get at least 6 hours of sleep per night, and talk to your doctor if can’t.

9. Assuming you are fine.

It’s easy to assume you don’t have heart disease, especially when you have no symptoms. But heart disease is not called a silent killer without a reason. A lack of symptoms does not mean you are not at risk. Neither does being young, thin, and "healthy." Even if you feel you have no personal or family risks for heart disease and assume you are healthy, you should work with your doctor to be sure you are following a heart healthy lifestyle and have no underlying risks or silent signs of heart disease.

10. Avoiding your doctor.

If you assume you are fine, you may avoid seeing your doctor regularly–or ever. But that’s risky. You need regular screenings to help monitor your overall health and catch risks for heart disease early. Make an appointment today to check your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, BMI, and more. Then ask your doctor how often you need to schedule regular check-ups including well-woman exams.

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.

01-27-2016 - 12:45 PM


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