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Had heart trouble? Six lifestyle changes to consider

Written by Salem Health Community Health Education Center on Mar. 25th, 2024
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Lifestyle factors have a huge influence on your overall health as well as your risk for future cardiovascular issues. This list is probably nothing new, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important!

  1. If you smoke, quit. Smoking damages your heart, lungs and blood vessels, and makes it harder for your body to repair itself.
  1. Eat a nutrient-rich, low-cholesterol diet. Limiting the amount of trans fat, cholesterol, empty carbohydrates, added sugars and extra salt in your diet can be extremely helpful.
  1. Get some exercise. While you should avoid strenuous cardiovascular exercise if you’ve been diagnosed with an acute condition, talk to your doctor about gentle cardiovascular exercise that can help your heart and vascular system without putting a strain on it.
  1. Stay hydrated. When we are well hydrated, the heart can pump blood through the body more efficiently and reduce strain. Proper hydration is particularly important for those that have existing heart troubles or who have a higher risk of heart disease.
  1. Manage stress. Anxiety raises blood pressure and may further hurt your cardiovascular health. Talk to your doctor about how to best manage your stress. They may prescribe anti-anxiety medications, or they may recommend mindful meditation.

And finally…

  1. Give yourself a chance to heal.

With heart trouble, as well as any serious medical diagnosis, getting enough rest is important. 

Rest periods give your body the best chance of healing.

Rest both eases the strain on your system and gives your body inactive time to repair.

Make sure that you get a good night’s sleep each night, take a break from activities that could put a strain on your system, and keep your stress levels low.

If you’ve had surgery or procedures for your heart issues, ask your spouse, family members and friends to help you, or arrange a paid caretaker to cover heavy housework, cooking and cleaning after you’ve been hospitalized. Make arrangements to take time off from work according to your doctor’s recommendations.

Salem Health Community Health Education Center

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