5 tips for keeping your heart healthy by cardiovascular care providers

From the moment you're born to the day you die, your heart never stops working. Each year, your heart beats more than 42-million times. As a result, it makes sense for you to do what you can to keep it healthy. At Champion Heart and Vascular Clinic, we're your go-to cardiovascular care providers in Dunn. With our tips, you're more likely to enjoy a healthy heart. 

Quit smoking

If you're a smoker, now's the time for you to quit. As cardiovascular care providers, we often treat patients who are suffering due to the ill effects of smoking.

Each cigarette you smoke damages the lining of your arteries. Over time, they will start to narrow. When your arteries are small, your heart needs to beat faster to pump blood around your body. 

Lose weight

Did you know that every single rise in BMI units increases your risk of heart failure by 17 percent? When our patients are overweight, we often recommend that they start a sensible weight loss plan to improve their cardiovascular profile.

Weight loss doesn't have to be difficult. If you're struggling, try buddying up with someone. You'll benefit from the ongoing support and you're more likely to succeed in your goals.

Stay active

Losing weight and staying active should go hand in hand. Although you can't out-exercise a bad diet, maintaining good fitness levels benefits your heart in more ways than one.

For example, exercising helps your heart become more efficient at pumping blood around your body. Our patients also find that their heart is able to support sudden increases in activity levels when they exercise more.

If you're new to exercise, start small and work your way up to something bigger. Try starting off with taking a small walk every day and then consider completing a Couch to 5K program. Staying active should improve your mental health too, which is also good for your heart.

Reduce stress

When you're feeling stressed, your body releases hormones that increase your heart rate. Although we all manage with stress from time to time, none of us should remain in a perpetually stressed state. We always recommend that our patients lower their stress levels, especially when they already have a heart condition. 

If you're feeling stressed, consider what some of your stressors are and see if there are ways to eliminate or reduce them. Look at whether aspects of your lifestyle are making stress worse too. For example, if you smoke, you're actually increasing your body's stress response rather than decreasing it.

Cut salt

Although salt acts as a useful tool when you're making meals, you can have too much of it. By adding salt to your recipes or using table salt for flavoring, you're increasing the amount of sodium in your bloodstream. When your blood reaches your kidneys, they'll have a hard time removing some of the fluid that's there. As your blood volume stays higher than normal, your heart will need to work harder to pump it around your body.

We recommend avoiding adding salt to your food wherever possible. If a recipe calls for it, try experimenting with using herbs for flavor instead. It's also worth considering whether the foods you eat are increasing your salt levels too. Processed foods are naturally high in salt, which is why we recommend cutting them out wherever possible.

At Champion Heart and Vascular Center, we treat patients throughout Henderson and Dunn. Our highly-trained medical team can screen you for cardiovascular diseases and help you manage them accordingly. If you'd like to make an appointment with us, call 252 572 4223 for our Henderson clinic or 910 304 1212 for our Dunn clinic.

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