How to Keep Your Heart Healthy

A doctor holds a plastic heart up
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February is a month known for hearts and love, but at Integrity Urgent Care, we like to think about American Heart Month and all the ways we can make our hearts, and our entire bodies, better. Even for those at high risk or already with heart disease, there are steps we can take to treat our heart right.

Stay Active

Activity is crucial to overall wellness and healthiness and that’s no exception in regards to your heart. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, adults need at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week. This activity doesn’t necessarily have to be running or lifting weights, although that can be a great choice. Activity can include walking, swimming, biking, dancing, or other fun classes in your area. If you are new to physical activity, start with a little bit each day and build over time. Don’t be afraid to try different forms of activity until you find something you like.

Healthy Foods

There are a number of dietary changes you can make to keep your heart healthy. By choosing a diet that is lower in sodium, added sugar, and fat, specifically trans and saturated fats, your heart will thank you. By picking items that are high in fiber, like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, your heart will be even happier. Watching your portion size is always beneficial for your heart and keeping your weight in a healthy range. Drinking alcohol is alright, but moderation is encouraged as well, with one drink recommended for women each day and two drinks for men.

Preventing Heart Disease

Losing weight if you are outside of a healthy range can immediately impact your heart’s health. Losing as little as 10 pounds greatly reduces your risk of developing heart disease as the pressure is lifted from this vital organ. If you are a smoker, stop immediately and your heart can begin to recover. This is true of those who are regularly exposed to second hand smoke. Managing stress, in a number of different ways, like meditation, setting healthy boundaries for work, or finding time to spend with those you love, is important for your overall health as well.

Risk Factors for Heart Disease

While everyone is at risk for heart disease, there are some factors that come into play that may make it more likely you will develop it or develop it earlier. Women over the age of 55 and men over the age of 45 need to show extra caution. And if a male in your immediate family showed heart disease before 55 or a female before 65, you may want to consider getting checked.

When to get checked

There are a number of factors a doctor can look at to assess the health of your heart. Weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and your overall wellness should be discussed once a year with your medical provider. These screenings won’t tell your doctor everything about your heart, but will start giving some clues to how your body is functioning. A blood glucose test should be taken every three years according to the American Heart Association, unless there are other indications you should have it more frequently. If you have already had a cardiac episode, your medical team will work with you to create a schedule for your heart health!

If you are in need of a physical, which will begin a conversation about overall health and wellness, come see our medical staff at Integrity Urgent Care. Our locations are open every day from 8am to 8pm and can help you with all non-life threatening health concerns. Contact us today!

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