5 Tips For a Healthier Heart
- Posted on: Feb 14 2019
Two of the procedures that our patients sometimes come in for, are a CT coronary angiogram and a cardiac MRI. A computerized tomography (CT) coronary angiogram is an imaging test that allows your doctor to look at the arteries supplying blood to your heart. When you have this test, it provides a 2-dimensional image that can be used to help in the diagnosis of the causes of chest pain and other symptoms you may be having. Having a CT coronary angiogram is painless, relies on powerful x-ray machines, and may sometimes require the use of contrast agents, harmless fluids introduced to the body, that make your results easier to read.
Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to record images of your heart and nearby blood vessels in 2-dimensional or 3-dimensional cross-section fragments. While both procedures provide an internal image, the difference between the two is that an MRI uses radio waves, and a CT scan uses ionizing radiation to produce these images. However, both tests are used to diagnose and assess a variety of heart conditions.
There are a number of reasons that a patient may need a CT coronary angiogram or a cardiac MRI. Regardless of what may lead someone to have one of these procedures however, when any kind of heart trouble arises, it’s hard not to think about what we can do to give our hearts a little more love. With that in mind, below are five tips for a healthier heart. Who knows? Using these tips could help you avoid heart complications and other health issues in the future.
Matters Of The Heart – Simple Ways To Be Healthier
We’ve all heard standard healthy living tips like “don’t smoke” and “get to a healthy weight,” but beyond that, here are a few additional things you can do to get your ticker in tip-top shape:
1. Sleep at least 7 hours a night, but no more than 9
According to the National Sleep Foundation, “People who don’t sleep enough are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease—regardless of age, weight, smoking and exercise habits.” Though they admit the reason sleep is vital to your heart health isn’t completely clear, they went onto say “ researchers understand that sleeping too little causes disruptions in underlying health conditions and biological processes like glucose metabolism, blood pressure, and inflammation. The same may be true for oversleeping.”
Even if you feel like using your mobile phone a little longer, want to chat with friends well into the wee morning hours, or are tempted to watch your favorite late-night show, try to refrain. Instead, remind yourself how beneficial it will be for your heart health if you get a proper night’s sleep.
2. Get your blood pumping with physical activity
You should aim for at least 20 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a day. This gets your blood pumping, can help keep your arteries clear, aids in lowering blood pressure, and even helps control your blood sugar. As the Mayo Clinic says, ”A stronger heart doesn’t need to beat as fast. A stronger heart also pumps blood more efficiently, which improves blood flow to all parts of your body.”
3. Do like Elsa, and let it go – the stress that is
Stress can wreak havoc on our hearts, so we need to do what we can to destress ourselves. Take up knitting, do yoga, or start a relaxing hobby to calm yourself down. Or simply engage in activities that will make you laugh. Watch a comedy special, read jokes, or catch a funny movie. According to research, when you reduce your stress, you also reduce heart inflammation and reduce LDL levels (bad cholesterol).
Another great way to reduce stress? Adopt a pet. Pets not only offer us unconditional love and great company, they also help us lead a healthier life. After all, they encourage you to engage in more physical activity. Cue the tail wag as you say to your furry friend, “Wanna go for a walk?”
4. Reduce your intake of salt and saturated fats
The New England Journal of Medicine reported, “Reducing dietary salt lowers blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease.” They went onto say, “All adult age groups, both sexes, and blacks and non-blacks would be expected to benefit from reductions in salt intake.” Those who consume more salt are also more likely to have an increased risk of coronary heart disease.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) found that overconsumption of saturated fats is just as troubling as a high salt intake. People who consume significant levels of these fats are at an increased risk of chronic cardiovascular diseases that affect the heart, blood vessels, and brain.
5. Consume heart-healthy foods
Not only should you consume between five and nine portions of fruits and vegetables every day, you should also include whole grains, nuts, and omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish) at least two times (two servings) a week to get omega-3 fatty acids into your system. Eating nuts not only helps your heart, but walnuts, almonds and many others help to lower your cholesterol. Finally, whole grains provide dietary fiber, can improve blood cholesterol levels, and provides nutrients that can help carry more oxygen into your bloodstream. The AHA recommends that at least half of the grains you eat are whole grains.
Bottom Line – Your Heart Health May Be In Your Hands
The sooner you can start taking care of your heart health, the better. Don’t wait for problems to emerge when simple tweaks to your life could help you prevent them. We hope this post has inspired you to show your heart more love.