by Dr. Hojat Askari, Medical Director, Thumb Butte Medical Center
Your heart needs to be healthy and strong for your body to keep up with your life. As physicians we do everything we can to make that possible, but what really makes a difference is what you do every day.
Protect your heart by:
Avoiding sedentary periods
Today’s careers and lifestyles often encourage us to sit still for extended periods. Instead, work 5 to 10 minutes of movement into every hour spent on a sofa or at a desk, whether it’s walking around the block, lifting weights or a quick, high-intensity interval of jumping jacks or burpees.
Eating good fats; avoiding bad ones
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats support your heart health by reducing inflammation. Saturated fats have been shown to raise cholesterol and other markers for heart disease. You really need to avoid trans fats. Check labels to make sure the ingredients don’t include partially hydrogenated oils; make sure trans fats are not listed.
Getting enough sleep
7 to 8 hours is ideal. Getting less than six hours a night doubles your chances of a heart attack, according to one study of 3,000 people. Sleep has been found to be crucial for maintaining numerous health processes and keeping blood pressure and inflammation in check. But needing to sleep much more than that could also signal the presence or risk of heart disease or other chronic conditions, so consult your doctor if you do.
Maintaining dental hygiene
Some studies have suggested bacteria found in your mouth may enter your bloodstream and increase inflammation throughout your body. Gum disease has many of the same risk factors as heart disease, so flossing and brushing daily are part of an overall healthy lifestyle.