Everyone knows that our heart and vascular system can be fragile and that caring for our hearts requires some daily thought and energy. Despite all the awareness, heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in our country, accounting for 1 in every 4 deaths, and affecting significantly more men than women.
Clearly, awareness isn’t enough to change the negative progress of this devastating disease. It’s time for everyone to take action. So here are 10 things you can do stave off heart disease in your life.
- Don’t sit too much
Prolonged sitting is perhaps one of the most surprising health hazards. Despite this seemingly innocent inactivity, heart disease and premature aging of arteries makes sitting too dangerous to ignore. In a study using heart CT scans and physical activity records of more than 2,000 adults living in Dallas, each hour of sitting per day was associated with a 14 percent increase in coronary artery calcification. It’s time to take a stand against heart disease. Try standing desks, apps, and timers to keep you prompted to get up.
- Get restful sleep
When you go to sleep at night, you’re not just getting rest from a long day of activity, you’re putting the brakes on the ravages of aging. In a study that compared people sleeping poorly for less than six hours a night to people sleeping comfortably for seven hours, the risk of coronary heart disease was 79% higher! Try using mindfulness meditation, smart phone apps, or adaptogenic herbs for a better night’s rest.
- Go to yoga
Flexibility of the spine means flexibility of some of the most important arteries in the body. There are many benefits to yoga but one of the most powerful is spinal flexibility. And when it comes to flexibility of the spine, nothing adds a positive twist quite like yoga. This 2017, take a deep breath and get into yoga. You’ll not only feel better about yourself, you’ll feel great knowing that you’re keeping your arteries flexible and healthy.
Speaking of yoga, maybe you should consider giving hot yoga a try — or some other kind of sweating practice. It seems that, no matter how hard we try, we can’t get away from toxins in plastics, cosmetics, and food. Heavy metals like mercury and lead are particularly damaging to the heart and arteries. Try adding exercise or better yet infrared sauna to your weekly routine in 2017.
- Get busy
A healthy sex life raises the heart rate and blood pressure significantly. And fortunately, studies show that the more frequent the sex, the lower the risk of heart events. So talk to your significant other and together, you can kiss heart disease goodbye in 2017.
- Avoid diet soda
There’s no sense in trying to cut calories when it can lead to a major increase in heart disease. But if you are drinking just a couple of diet sodas each day, you are taking a huge risk. A massive study showed that women that drink two or more diet sodas a day have a major increase in heart disease and death. Try water, unsweetened tea, green juice, and black coffee instead of diet sodas.
- Get regular check-ups
Genetic factors can play a significant role in heart health. Even a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and dieting won’t keep you immune to heart disease. Here are a few ways for you to get to know your health care provider better. Have your blood pressure checked regularly, get an EKG for your QT interval, and get lab work done for fasting glucose, vitamin D levels, a cholesterol panel, lipoprotein and homocysteine measurements, and an assessment of inflammation by a test called hs-CRP. If you are over 40 with risks for heart disease, get a coronary artery calcium scan and know your score.
- Quit smoking
Smoking puts you on the fast track to having a heart attack. It seems like it should go without saying, but about a quarter of millennials still smoke which is the highest percentage of any age group. So we’re going to say it. Quit now.
- Manage your stress
The stress and accompanying adrenal fatigue can age arteries fast. For decades, stress has been linked to heart disease. With the introduction of smart phones and wi-fi, our ability to relax is being deleted with the push of a button. Try using that technology to learn a few strategies to manage stress on a daily basis and then take a technology detox at least a few hours a week.
- Avoid bacon, hot dogs and pepperoni
IN 2016, people still loved processed red meats. And that was after the World Health Organization announced in 2015 that, according to definitive data, processed red meats cause cancer, especially colorectal cancer. Years before that the same foods were associated with a spike in heart disease and heart attacks. Now that it’s 2017, it’s time to wake up and smell the absence of bacon.
The more you know about your health, the better you’ll feel. At Good Days, we’re dedicated to helping people achieve a healthier and happier life. Helping people live good days, every day. That’s Good Days.