Heart disease is a common condition, as well as a leading cause of death throughout the world. To make matters worse, there are many ways to help prevent this condition by improving heart health. What are some simple ways to improve heart health? Can the heart muscles really strengthen over time? Here are facts that every man should know about how to improve heart health.
Why Is Heart Health So Important?
Many people know that the heart is an essential organ, but is it really understood how valuable improving heart health can be? The heart is responsible for pumping blood throughout the body. This process ensures that the body is working correctly. Without a healthy or functioning heart, death is inevitable.
Despite the value of the heart, many people accumulate dangerous plaque over time due to poor diet, a lack of exercise, or other factors. Even if heart health has been neglected for many years, there is always time to start making better decisions and trying to strengthen heart health.
How to Improve Heart Health
The good news is that there are plenty of ways to improve heart health. Some of the easiest guidelines for improving heart health include:
- Decreasing sodium and saturated fat intake
- Increasing the amount of fruit, vegetables, and fiber-rich foods consumed daily
- Getting active daily, including doing simple exercises like walking or light resistance training
- Using a standing desk instead of a traditional seated desk
- Avoiding activities that do not strengthen heart health, like smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and overeating
- Seeking treatment for any health conditions that could increase heart disease risk if left untreated, like diabetes
- Maintaining a healthy and stable weight, especially a man over 45 or a woman over 55
Additionally, setting up an appointment with a doctor is an excellent idea. A medical team will be able to perform bloodwork and other tests that provide greater insight into current heart health and provide customized advice on how to make improvements..
Can Heart Muscles Be Strengthened?
Some patients with poor heart health worry that their past actions will permanently dictate the future. Thankfully, heart muscles can be strengthened, and certain levels of damage can be repaired. A good diet and exercise are two ways to improve heart health and encourage muscle repair. However, it is essential to know that diet and exercise are not enough to counteract the damage that the heart experiences during a cardiac event like a heart attack.
What Exercises Help Improve Heart Health?
Staying active is vital for improving heart health, whether it is walking around the block or lifting weights at the gym. However, some specific exercises are an excellent solution when wondering how to improve heart health, specifically. Some of the best activities to improve heart function include:
- Cardio exercises like biking, jogging, running, HIIT, Zumba, swimming, or walking
- Flexibility and stretch-based exercises, like some types of yoga
- Strength training and bodyweight exercises like yoga or weight lifting
When focusing on improving heart health, it is a good idea to exercise at least 150 minutes every week at a moderate level. Exercises that get the heart pumping without being completely exhausting are best. How do you determine what moderate activity is? Well, the heart rate should be 50-60% higher than when at rest, and it should be tougher (but not impossible) to talk while exercising.
Can Heart Health Be Improved While Suffering from Heart Disease?
If you have been diagnosed with heart disease or have experienced a heart attack or other cardiac event, it is essential to speak with a cardiologist and doctor about how to improve heart health. They can provide specific guidance on the best ways to improve heart health. Providing that the guidelines are followed, there is a high chance heart health can improve. However, on a more general level, there are some things that should be kept in mind when exercising:
- Exercising can lead to positive effects that help lessen symptoms and decrease the risk of future problems, like weight loss and lower blood pressure.
- Starting an exercise program slowly and gradually increasing the duration and intensity over time will ensure that the activity does not become too strenuous
- Understand the symptoms for when too much strain is being exerted onto the heart, including an irregular pulse, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, chest pain, or shortness of breath.
What Preventative Measures Can Be Taken to Ensure a Healthy Heart?
Beyond a daily routine, there are other tests that should be performed regularly. These tests will provide insight into current health and provide critical information. What are some of the preventative tests and procedures that adults should have performed?
- Monitor blood pressure. If the reading is consistently high when at the doctor due to white coat syndrome, it is essential to have an at-home blood pressure monitor.
- Schedule bloodwork to measure cholesterol levels every 4-6 years. Is there a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease? If so, levels should be checked more frequently. This test is called a lipid profile, and it includes measuring total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, non-HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.
- If diagnosed with diabetes, close attention should be paid to the blood sugar levels. Managing diabetes, with the help of a doctor is critical, as it can be a risk factor for more severe heart problems.
- Always take medication as prescribed, even if it does not seem directly heart-related. If there are any concerns about medications and their potential impacts on the heart, discuss them with a medical team before discontinuing them.
- If there is a family history of heart problems, or if you are unsure of family medical history, having genetic tests performed may be worthwhile. This field is constantly evolving, and today’s tests can pick up on indicators that there is an elevated risk of a heart attack.
Protect Your Heart with TopLine MD Alliance Affiliated Doctors
Whether you are a man or a woman, taking action to improve your health is always a good idea. If you are concerned that you have risk factors for heart disease, like high cholesterol, or are interested in changing your lifestyle before you develop symptoms, working with the right doctor is critical. TopLine MD Alliance affiliated physicians offer patients of all ages and genders high-quality care to ensure optimal health now and in the future.
If you are ready to schedule your appointment with a TopLine MD Alliance affiliated physician or specialist, click here. The convenient and complimentary Find a Provider tool lets you find a local doctor that meets your needs, including cardiologists. All of the affiliated providers are compassionate and understanding, and they know how to give you the tools and knowledge necessary to transform your health.
The TopLine MD Alliance is an association of independent physicians and medical practice groups who are committed to providing a higher standard of healthcare services. The members of the TopLine MD Alliance have no legal or financial relationship with one another. The TopLine MD Alliance brand has no formal corporate, financial or legal ties to any of the affiliated physicians or practice groups.