You probably know that as we get older, it’s more common to experience health issues. One of the most common issues is poor heart health, which can cause some serious problems. One of these problems is heart attack, which might be more common than you think. In fact, every 40 seconds someone in the United States will have a heart attack. Of course, a heart attack isn’t inevitable. This is especially true if you take preventive measures.
Understanding your risk can help you decide what preventive measures to take. For example, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are two of the main factors that increase risk of heart attack. Your family history can also influence your risk. For help assessing your risk, you should talk to your doctor.
There are a number of lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent heart attacks. One of the most important ones is to quit smoking. You may have heard this before, but this can majorly affect your heart health. People who smoke at least one pack of cigarettes each day are twice as likely to have a heart attack as nonsmokers. Studies have shown that quitting can reduce the risk of a heart attack by 36%.
If you don’t smoke, there are still other steps you can take to protect your heart health. The next step is to adopt an active lifestyle. Regular exercise can reduce the risk of heart attack by 3%. This may not sound like much, but every action you take now will likely benefit you later.
Another step you can take is to eat a heart healthy diet. Though salty foods are delicious, too much sodium in your diet can increase your blood pressure. Instead, doctors recommend eating nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables. Additionally, incorporating healthy fats like avocados and fish. These types of foods can help lower blood pressure, and reducing intake of saturated and trans fats may also lower your cholesterol. Both of these things can help lower your risk of heart problems.
Lastly, make sure you’re getting enough sleep. It’s easy to prioritize your career, social life, or even recreational activities over sleep. However, getting too little sleep is linked to a variety of health issues. Aim for at least seven hours a night. Research shows that adults who get less than this are more likely to develop heart-related illnesses.