Friday, March 4, 2016

Keep Your Heart Healthy

80% of heart disease is preventable

running feet

There are numerous factors that can increase your risk. By maintaining normal cholesterol and blood pressure levels and a healthy weight, you are minimizing three important risk factors that can help support your heart health.

Know your numbers - are you at risk?

BLOOD PRESSURE. High blood pressure is sometimes called the "silent killer" because there are often no symptoms associated with it in the early stages. It's important to have your blood pressure checked regularly. 

blood pressure levels

CHOLESTEROL. High cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for coronary heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. A simple blood test can measure the amount of "good" cholesterol (HDL) or "bad" cholesterol (LDL) in your blood. Current research is focused on the importance of lowering LDL cholesterol.
total cholesterol

WEIGHT. Overweight and obesity can both be defined by Body Mass Index or BMI (which is a ratio of weight to height). Being overweight to obese, and in particular carrying your extra weight around your abdomen, adds extra stress on your heart, increases inflammation, and puts you at significantly increased risk of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.

bmi - weight

What can I do?
Even small chances in lifestyle (e.g. diet, exercise, and appropriate supplementation) can have a big impact. Here are the most important steps you can take:
  1. Lose weight if you are not at your ideal weight. 
  2. Eat more fruits and vegetables. 
  3. Avoid fast food.
  4. Get active.
  5. Avoid smoking.
  6. Manage stress.
  7. Work with your doctor to understand your risk factors. 

Food & Exercise Log

I've tried several food and exercise tracking sites over the years. I have found that writing it down is the only way to really truly know what you are eating. You have no idea how many things you eat or sneak during the day that really add up. Many of these tracking sites are cumbersome or not user friendly, or do not have a large list of foods already in there, or cost money. You can even put it all on your phone with an app or whatever if you are in to all that fancy jazzy stuff.

The best (in my opinion) and my all time favorite is called Lose It. I use the free version and it works just great. What I like most: it has an enormous food list, I've haven't found anything not in it yet. It's quick. You can quickly add your food or exercise within seconds. I don't have a lot of extra time to be jacking with a ton of options. I have a link on my desktop, brings up my homepage, within just a few clicks I add every single thing that I eat during the day, water intake and exercise. It's a great way to stay accountable too. You also have a weight loss goal option with the free version. 

You have only one heart. Making smart choices now will pay off the rest of your life.

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