1. Know Your Risk – Those baby blues may not be the only trait you inherited from your mom’s side of the family.  Tracking your family health history plays a vital role in knowing your health risks.  Having this vital information could prevent you from being blindsided by heart problems in the future.

2. Get Moving! – Getting up and doing purposeful, moderate exercise at least 30 minutes a day will go a long way in keeping your heart working properly.

3. Check out your local gym or join a local fitness meet-up group and take a friend along.
Cholesterol Control – Do you understand the difference between LDL and HDL levels?

High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL)

Think of HDL as a vacuum cleaner sucking up as much extra cholesterol as it can.  This action is thought to explain why high levels of HDL are associated with low risk for heart disease.

Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL)

LDL particles take cholesterol to the parts of the body that need it at any given time. Unfortunately, if you have too much LDL in the bloodstream, it deposits the cholesterol into the arteries, which can cause blockages and lead to heart attacks. This is why LDL is also known as “bad cholesterol”. [1]

4. Perk Up Your Diet – Studies show that eating fish 3 times per week can significantly lower the risk of heart failure.  Also adding more fresh fruits and vegetables and less processed food will most certainly give you a healthy edge against many diseases.

5. Just Quit – Quitting smoking is the single most important thing a person can do for their heart.  From the moment you stop smoking, the risk of heart attack starts to reduce. [2]Giving up this killer habit now, may give you years of your life back.  That seems like a fair trade to me.

6. Recognize Warning Signs – According to the American Heart Association, too many American’s ignore the initial warning signs of a possible heart attack.  Waiting for symptoms to “go away” is not something you should do.  Here are some key warning signs;

a. Chest Discomfort.  Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

b. Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

c. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort

d. Nausea, lightheadedness or breaking out in a cold sweat[3]

Remember minutes matter!  Do not wait more than 5 minutes of onset of symptoms before calling 911 or your local EMS service.  Although you can regain your life after a heart attack, prevention is a far better choice.  By following the AHA’s recommended guidelines and making small, healthy changes now, your risk of heart failure can be greatly reduced and you will have given yourself the greatest gift of all, more quality time with the ones who love you most.

 

[1] www.health.harvard.edu

[2]Theguardian.com

[3] Laheyclinic.org


Jennifer Bell

Jennifer Bell has managed many specialty areas of healthcare including, kidney transplant, physical therapy and surgery.  She combines her expertise in patient relations with her love of writing to bring awareness of health related issues.   In her blog, Dreamlife Moments, she writes about mindfulness of time and recognizing more of the positive moments happening around us every day that creates a more positive life experience. Jennifer and her husband Byron are recent empty-nesters who enjoy traveling with their bichon Aissa, geocaching and volunteering wherever they go. Who is this chickie anyway? Connect with Jennifer on her Facebook Page, Blog and Twitter to find out more.