Your heart is the powerhouse of your body and you need to take special care of yourself to keep it healthy. In order to take good care of your heart, there are multiple factors to consider including lifestyle changes by making healthier choices. It's no longer just about being dependent on regular check-ups with your doctor, you have to be proactive about your heart health as a whole.
There are factors that can put you at a greater risk of cardiovascular diseases and conditions like heart attacks, for example hereditary health issues, blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking, and an unhealthy lifestyle, to name a few. Some risk factors like your family’s health history and age are out of your control but you can take certain preventive measures to lower your risk by changing the factors that you can control.
It is important to take proactive efforts to look after your health and monitor it on a regular basis. Visiting your doctor for consistent health check ups can help ensure you’re on top of your overall well being and catch symptoms early. Additionally you can take some steps to lower your risk such as:
- Manage your cholesterol levels
Your cholesterol levels are closely linked to your heart health. If you have a high amount of LDL (commonly referred to as ‘bad cholesterol) and a low amount of HDL (referred to as ‘good cholesterol), you will be at a greater risk of developing heart issues. A high level of triglycerides, which are fats from the food you eat, combined with high LDL is also associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases. While cholesterol levels can only be tested through a blood test, you can take steps to manage your cholesterol levels. This can be done by following a heart-healthy diet and an active lifestyle. Read more about a Beginner’s Guide to a Heart-Healthy Diet.
- Keep your blood pressure in check
Having high blood pressure is linked to many heart issues including hypertensive heart diseases. Since high blood pressure can sometimes have no symptoms, it is important to check your blood pressure regularly. Today, it is easy to find blood pressure monitors for home use that provide more accurate data. You can regularly monitor your blood pressure with these devices to check whether they are within the normal range of 120/80. If you have consistently high blood pressure readings, you should consult your doctor who can advise how it can be lowered.
- Use a pulse rate monitor regularly
If you are at risk, you should have a handy way of testing your heart rate. While there are ways to manually measure your pulse, there are also many handy devices that can measure it constantly. Smartwatches can have a higher level of accuracy when it comes to measuring your heart rate and some even have an automatic alert system that can alert you when it’s too high or too low. Pulse rate monitoring devices can help you figure out whether you have an irregular heartbeat, which is medically known as arrhythmia. Arrhythmia can be a symptom of coronary heart disease or can be caused during a heart attack. The risk factors for arrhythmia can be stress, or anxiety, consumption of alcohol and obesity among others, so it is in your best interest to consult your doctor if you’re prone to any of these and in any instance, notice an irregular heartbeat.
- Monitor your blood sugar
Monitoring your blood sugar is especially important for those who are also at a higher risk of developing diabetes. High blood sugar can cause damage to your arteries, especially in the kidneys which reduces their ability to filter blood. Diabetes is also one of the biggest risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. So, if you have high blood sugar levels, you can keep a glucometer handy so you can accurately measure your blood sugar levels and seek medical care as needed.
- Manage your lifestyle
Along with monitoring your body, living heart-healthy also involves taking other preventive measures and monitoring your body. If you are at risk of developing heart-related issues, the best way to lower it would be through making changes to your lifestyle. You can begin by including some heart-healthy habits into your routine and switching to a diet that’s better for your heart.
When To See Your Doctor
If you know you’re at risk of developing heart issues, you should also be aware of warning symptoms that might need urgent medical attention. If you experience any of the signs below, you should consider getting in touch with your doctor immediately:
Warning signs for Heart Attack:-
- pain or pressure in your chest that lasts longer than a few minutes or goes away and comes back
- pain or discomfort in one or both of your arms or shoulders, or your back, neck, or jaw
- shortness of breath
- sweating or light-headedness
- indigestion or nausea (feeling sick to your stomach)
- feeling very tired
Warning signs for Stroke:-
- weakness or numbness of your face, arm, or leg on one side of your body
- confusion, or trouble talking or understanding
- dizziness, loss of balance, or trouble walking
- trouble seeing out of one or both eyes
- sudden, severe headache
It is also advisable to maintain routine check ups with your doctor. It’s never too late to start living a healthy lifestyle. If you are at risk, make sure you are timely monitoring your heart’s health with the above methods to lead a healthy and happy life.
Disclaimer:- This publication/ article is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.