February is National Heart Month and there will be many articles on how to improve your heart health and reduce your risk of heart disease. Note that if you have diabetes or are pre-diabetic, your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol is even higher. Some researchers indicate that it is better to get your blood pressure and cholesterol under control then work on your glucose levels. Check with your physician for the best protocol.
Research shows that you can control one or more of these risk factors if you elicit help from a friend, family member or professional. Everyone can benefit from these simple choices, so find a partner and see if you can make some healthy choices:
- Get regular check-ups to monitor your health
- Measure your blood pressure and test lipids (cholesterol)
- If you are overweight, take control and start to lose pounds gradually
- Take all prescribed medicine as directed
- Get at least 30 minutes of daily exercise
- Quick smoking
- Modify your diet to include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish
- Read food labels to minimize food high in saturated fats & cholesterol
- Limit your salt intake to 2300mg/day. Most of this comes from processed foods
- Drink in moderation – men: 2 drinks/day and women: 1 drink/day
Research also indicates that alternative medicine can be a major factor in meeting goals for a heart healthy lifestyle. Studies show that massage and acupuncture can reduce stress, reduce blood pressure, assist with smoking cessation and improve circulation and range of motion to help maintain an exercise program.
Do you know your numbers? There are convenient ways to get your blood pressure and cholesterol (lipid) blood tests done. Almost every pharmacy has a blood pressure machine and it is a good practice to check your blood pressure often. Discount blood testing is available to have your lipids checked. This includes cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL, LDL and VLDL. Test now then make dietary changes and test again.
Other simple ways to incorporate heart healthy lifestyle changes is to
- prioritize and delegate tasks to reduce stress
- limit distractions or focus on less stressful events
- grill, steam or roast your food
- reduce portion sizes – try a smaller plate
- exercise in short bursts – 3×10 minute intervals = 30 minutes of recommended exercise and is just as effective
Take Control of Your Health
Medical Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. The writer is not a physician or other health provider.