Article originally published on January 29, 2021.
The thought of preventing heart disease might seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Making simple, healthy choices in your day-to-day life can go a long way towards improving your cardiovascular health and reducing your risk factors.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Be mindful about what you eat, and aim to consume a diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and fish. You may want to start with small, focused changes in your diet. For example, challenge yourself to eat the rainbow. This is an easy and colorful way to incorporate more fruits and veggies into your week.
Standard guidelines recommend getting 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. Purposeful exercises, like hitting the treadmill or going for a bike ride, are important aspects of reaching this goal, but day-to-day movements can make a difference, too. Try parking at a distance when you reach your destination, taking the stairs and adding simple exercises – like calf raises and counter push-ups – into your day.
Manage Stress Levels
Learning how to manage stress is good for your health. Chronic stress can cause an unhealthy increase in blood pressure, and may lead to harmful coping mechanisms, such as smoking, alcohol consumption and stress eating. In times of high stress, try identifying healthier alternatives that work for you. Exercise, meditation, breathing techniques, journaling, and volunteering are all great options to explore.
If you smoke, quitting is one of the single best things you can do for your health. Talk to your healthcare provider about making an action plan for cessation.
Take Medications as Directed
Always take your medications as directed, and keep an up-to-date list of prescriptions with you – especially when going to the doctor or dentist. Don’t stop taking medications without speaking to your physician. If you have questions or concerns, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
Concerned about the cost of medications? FMC’s Foundation may be able to help. If you think you may qualify for assistance, click here to learn more about our ScriptAssist program.
Visit your Primary Care Provider
Primary care is at the heart of wellness. In many cases, visiting your primary care provider is the first step to finding answers to your questions and solutions to your concerns. No matter your age, you should plan to see your primary care provider once a year for a routine wellness exam. Your provider will instruct you on additional screenings that may be necessary based on your age, gender and family history.
Our Heart Health Experts
Fairfield Medical Center and Fairfield Healthcare Professionals (FHP) offer access to a variety of talented, compassionate heart and vascular experts. From cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery to rehabilitation and specialty clinics, our team is here to support you on your journey to heart health from beginning to end.