An average human heart beats about 60 times in a minute, 100,000 times in a day, 35 million times a year, and 2.5 billion times in a lifetime. Giving it an organ that is always in the running, it is your job to take care of its health. Heart diseases are one of the leading causes of death in America. While genetics play a very important role in the causes of heart diseases, some very simple modifications to your lifestyle can majorly reduce your chances of developing a heart condition. In this article, we would share with you a heart health checklist to keep your heart healthy and in good condition.
Heart Health Checklist
A heart health checklist is a list of healthy activities that you can do to keep your cardiovascular health in check. There are multiple factors that contribute to the health of a good heart. Being aware of your heart health can help you take care of and control your overall health. Since almost all of the main causes of heart disease are preventable risk factors, use this simple checklist to take control and improve heart health.
Understanding Symptoms of a Disease
In order to keep your health in check, you first need to understand your symptoms. If you suffer from a heart condition or are more prone to it because of your family medical history, you need to be more careful and be on the lookout for the early signs of it.
The early signs of a weak heart are shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle weakness, leg cramps, and the inability to do anything physically demanding like exercises. If you are someone who experiences these symptoms quite frequently, consult your doctor.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Heart diseases can be prevented by simply maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Eating right, doing enough exercise, taking care of your mental health, and avoiding the consumption of harmful substances like tobacco (smoking) or alcohol can significantly reduce the chances of you developing heart disease. You can follow some of the below-mentioned heart-healthy habits in order to prevent yourself from getting any heart diseases and maintain a good healthy heart.
Focus on Aerobic Fitness
Aerobic exercise improves circulation in the body, which lowers blood pressure and heart rate. These exercises mostly entail swimming, running, brisk walking, cycling, and any exercise that requires the continuous use of large muscle groups in rhythmic movements. You probably know them as cardio. These exercises are said to be good for your heart, lungs, and circulatory system. It helps improve your overall cardiac output, which means how well your heart pumps.
Take The Stairs
According to an article, published by the biggest medical center in Spain, Hospital Universitario A Coruña, climbing 60 steps of stairs in a minute is one of the indicators of good heart health. If you take longer to climb the stairs, it is more likely that you’ll develop cardiovascular disease later in life.
As per another research conducted with a sample of heart patients, climbing stairs can be significantly beneficial for your cardiovascular and muscular health.
Have a Wholesome Breakfast
We all know, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you want to make changes in your diet to strengthen your heart health, start with the first meal of the day. Choose foods that are rich in antioxidants, healthy fats, fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Eat whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You can even add some nuts and seeds to your wholesome breakfast. Avoid consuming processed, high-sugar foods.
According to a study conducted by the University of Iowa, skipping breakfast can increase your likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease.
Schedule Regular Check-Ups
Even if you are a healthy person who sticks to a healthy regime, you should still get regular checkups to stay on top of things. Get health checkups done, to ensure everything regarding your health is fine. Even if there is a health concern, it would be detected early on so it will be easy to treat it.
Consider Salt Substitute
If you consume too much salt, it leads to the body retaining water. This increases fluid in your body that increases the blood pressure and puts a strain on the blood vessels, kidneys, and heart. People who already suffer from hypertension, are advised to consume salt substitutes as they are more prone to heart disease and stroke. Some healthy salt substitutes are:
- Citrus fruits like lemon or lime
- Chilies and cayenne pepper
- Rosemary, thyme, and parsley
We have all heard the saying “Laughter is the best medicine!”. When you laugh, your heart rate increases and you take many deep breaths. This oxygenates your blood which circulates through your body and improves the overall vascular function. Improved blood circulation and vascular function can significantly reduce the chances of you developing heart disease. So laugh out loud as much as you can!
Add Omega-3 Fatty Acids to Your Diet
The American Heart Association recommends people eat fish at least twice a week. Fishes like salmon, cord, lake trout, and sardine are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These unsaturated fatty acids are said to be good for your heart health and the consumption of them on a regular basis can significantly reduce your likelihood of developing heart disease.
Smoking can have detrimental effects on your health. It can lead to cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), lung diseases, diabetes, heart diseases, and some other serious illnesses. Quitting can help prevent all this. It can lower your risk of atherosclerosis and blood clots. If you already suffer from heart disease, quitting smoking can reduce your likelihood of another heart attack.
Keep Your BMI in Check
Body mass index is a measure of fat in your body against your height and weight. If your BMI is high, you are more at risk for certain diseases like hypertension, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, and heart diseases. Maintaining a healthy weight is important for your heart health. If you are overweight, it can lead to a build-up of fatty material in your arteries, which can then lead to a heart attack.
Keep Your Blood Pressure in Check
Blood pressure is one of the key indicators of heart health. People with high blood pressure are more likely to develop heart disease. High blood pressure can damage your arteries and decrease the flow of oxygen and blood to your heart, which can lead to heart disease.
Healthy Heart Fact List
The heart is an organ in the body responsible for pumping oxygenated blood all around the body. It is made of atria, valves, ventricles, and various veins and arteries and is a part of your body’s circulatory system. Now that you are familiar with heart health tips, here are some important facts about the human heart.
- The heart pumps around 2000 gallons of blood every day
- An average human heart is the size of an adult’s fist
- A normal heart valve is about the size of half a dollar
- The heart can continue beating even if it is detached from the body
- The beating sound comes from the opening and closing of the valve leaflets
- A woman’s heart beats faster than a man’s by almost 8 beats per minute
- The heart pumps blood through 60000 miles of blood vessels
- Heart diseases are found in 3000 years old mummies as well
- An average human heart weighs less than one pound
- A man’s heart is heavier than a woman’s
- Arteries are only about 4 millimeters in diameter.
Maintaining a good heart care regime is important, especially if you are more prone to developing a heart condition. Our expert physicians can consult you on how you can take care of your heart health by adhering to some healthy heart habits.
– Disclaimer –
This blog is for informational & educational purposes only, and does not intend to substitute any professional medical advice or consultation. For any health related concerns, please consult with your physician, or call 911.
About The AuthorDr. Syra Hanif M.D.
Board Certified Primary Care Physician
Dr. Syra Hanif is a board-certified Primary Care Physician (PCP) dedicated to providing compassionate, patient-centered healthcare.Read More