More than 800,000 Americans have heart attacks each year. A heart attack happens when blood flow to your heart is suddenly blocked, and it’s a serious medical emergency that requires immediate attention.
Heart attacks happen fast, but they’re usually the result of a much slower process: heart disease. Heart disease refers to a group of conditions that impair your heart’s function over time, and it’s the leading cause of heart attack in both men and women.
Because heart disease has a lot of factors, it’s impossible to completely prevent a heart attack. But the good news is that there’s a lot you can do to lower your risk and boost your heart health.
At Macomb Medical Clinic, P.C. in Sterling Heights, Michigan, our team is dedicated to providing comprehensive preventive care — and that includes your heart. In this blog, Dr. Rosenberg and Dr. Lieberman are sharing their best lifestyle tips to lower your risk of both heart disease and heart attack.
1. Manage your blood pressure
When your heart beats, it creates pressure in your blood vessels. The pressure pushes blood throughout your body, but sometimes, that pressure can get too high.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects nearly half of all American adults. High blood pressure puts extra strain on your heart, because it has to work harder to pump your blood. Over time, uncontrolled high blood pressure contributes to heart disease, stroke, and heart attack.
If you have high blood pressure, lowering it (and your risk of heart attack) is possible. Lifestyle changes and medication can reduce your blood pressure and in turn, reduce the strain on your heart.
2. Quit smoking
Smoking is a leading risk factor for heart disease. The chemicals in tobacco contribute to plaque buildup and narrowing of your blood vessels, which damages both your heart and circulatory system over time.
If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, it’s never too late to quit. Quitting smoking can significantly improve your heart health and lower your risk of heart disease and heart attack even if you’ve smoked for many years.
3. Get regular exercise
Regular physical exercise is one of the best ways to improve heart health and lower your risk of heart attack. Both aerobic exercise and strength training increase your cardiovascular function, which helps your heart work more efficiently.
Make exercise a habit. Strive to get about 30 minutes of activity at least five days a week, but remember you don’t have to participate in intense workouts to get the heart-healthy benefits of exercise. Take time to find an activity you enjoy, like brisk walks, swimming, or riding a bike.
4. Eat a heart-healthy diet
The food you eat directly impacts your heart, and a healthy diet can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease. Focus on eating a diet that includes mostly fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
Avoid foods that are high in salt, sugar, trans fats, and saturated fats. Some alcohol, like red wine, has been shown to have heart-healthy benefits, but it’s important to consume alcohol in moderation.
5. Strive for a healthy weight
Nearly three in four American adults carry extra weight. Being overweight or obese puts extra strain on your body and makes your heart work harder, which increases your risk of heart disease and heart attack.
If you have some weight to lose, shedding those extra pounds can make a big difference for your heart health, and our medical weight loss program can help you get there. It’s a personalized approach to weight loss that includes exercise planning, nutritional counseling, medications, supplements, and more to help you reach your goals.
We evaluate your health, then partner with you to create a weight loss plan. Frequent appointments and accountability help you stick to your goals until you see success.
While there’s no way to guarantee you’ll never suffer a heart attack, you can make lots of heart-healthy improvements in your life. For more personalized help, schedule a consultation with our team at Macomb Medical Clinic, P.C. Call us at 586-315-2394 or send us a message online now.