out of your control, the good news is many can be modified.
“While you can’t control your age, gender, or family history, there are risk factors that can be modified like high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle,” Dr. Irobunda adds.
Not sure where to begin? Working with a doctor and dietitian is a great place to start working on those modifiable risk factors.
3. Know your family history
Sometimes just talking to our family members can help us a great deal because it can provide us insight into what we may need to be on the lookout for and help us make the necessary adjustments sooner rather than later.
4. Eliminate stress
We’ve all been stressed out from time to time, but when it becomes chronic stress, it can be a detriment to our health. Stress can elevate your blood pressure and lead to permanent hypertension or a permanent heart condition. Are you guilty of stress eating, smoking or drinking? All these things can cause weight gain and heart complications. It may be challenging to figure out the best way to eliminate stress from your life, but you can start by making sure you are getting enough sleep and managing your stress in healthy ways (ie. exercise).
5. Know the warning signs
While blood pressure doesn’t usually have any signs or symptoms until it’s too late, you may be able to spot the warning signs of heart disease before it’s too late depending on the type of heart disease.
With heart failure, you may experience unexplained shortness of breath, difficulty lying down at night without feeling short of breath, and swelling in the legs.
With coronary artery disease (a condition in which the arteries become narrow and constricted) you might have chest pain, chest pressure, or discomfort in the neck or jaw.
6. Adopt healthy habits
“If I could turn back time”. Last, but certainly not least, think about how you can change your DNA.
Dr. Irobunda says you can improve your heart health and reduce your risk of developing heart disease by:
- Take control of your blood pressure.
- Eat a healthy diet that is low in salt and rich in potassium (for example, a plant-based diet that favors fresh fruits and vegetables over highly processed foods).
- Don’t smoke.
- Reduce alcohol intake.
- Exercise regularly for better weight control.
- Understand and manage stress triggers.