Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, but even people in high-risk categories can make some simple changes to help prevent heart attacks. Read on to find out about seven things anyone can do to reduce their heart attack risk and support cardiac health.
1. Reduce Symptoms of Premature Aging
In 1997, researchers determined that Klotho, a naturally occurring human protein, is partially responsible for fighting off the damaging effects of aging, including heart damage. Individuals deficient in this protein may be at an increased risk of experiencing premature aging and death. The exogenous administration of Klotho offers a great opportunity for heart attack prevention in these consumers.
2. Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet
A heart-healthy diet is one of the best weapons at a person’s disposal for battling cardiovascular disease. Diet affects everything from cholesterol and blood pressure to weight and diabetes risk, all of which can play a role in determining an individual’s heart attack risk. Try to choose high-nutrient foods and focus on incorporating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and nuts while limiting consumption of sugar, salt, and red meats.
3. Quit Smoking
Smoking cigarettes makes it more difficult to maintain heart health. It predisposes smokers to heart attacks and makes it more difficult for those who suffer a heart attack to recover. Quitting is hard, but there are plenty of FDA-approved products that can help.
4. Increase Physical Activity
Research shows that getting 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week can help people lower their blood pressure and cholesterol and maintain a healthy weight. Physically fit consumers are also less likely to suffer heart attacks than those with a low fitness level.
5. Get Plenty of Beauty Rest
People who don’t get enough sleep are at higher risk of having a heart attack or developing heart disease. In some cases, just improving sleep hygiene by setting a schedule and making sure the bedroom stays quiet and dark can make it easier to get more sleep. In others, it may be necessary to consult a doctor regarding underlying conditions like obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, depression, or medication side effects.
6. Get Regular Health Screenings
Americans of all ages should be heading to their doctors for routine health screenings. Many people have underlying conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes that can increase their heart attack risks and don’t even realize it. As a rule, blood pressure checks should happen at least once per year, cholesterol screenings should happen at least once every four years, and type 2 diabetes screenings should be performed every three years beginning at age 45.
7. Reduce Stress
Last, but certainly not least: people who want to reduce their heart attack risk should find ways to de-stress. There’s a proven relationship between coronary heart disease and stress levels, likely as a result of unhealthy coping mechanisms like smoking, drinking, and overeating. Those who are prone to stress should find better coping mechanisms to help reduce it such as getting more exercise, meditating, or even taking up yoga.
The Bottom Line
Some people are at higher risk of having heart attacks than others but everyone can take simple steps to reduce their risks. Eat healthily and take supplements as needed, get plenty of sleep and exercise, and make sure to schedule routine health screenings at a doctor’s office to reduce the chances of developing heart disease or having a heart attack.