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Heart health is an important part of your overall health. Your heart pumps blood throughout the body, delivering oxygen and nutrients to cells, tissues and organs. It also removes waste products from these same areas. A healthy heart keeps you feeling energetic and able to enjoy life's activities.
If you want to improve your heart health, listen carefully when your primary care physician gives advice about lifestyle changes that can improve it. These tips may seem simple but they will make a big difference in how well you feel!
If you're like most people, you probably don't get regular check-ups. That's a problem because your primary care physician can help identify and treat heart health issues before they become serious. The first step in improving your heart health is to schedule an annual checkup with your primary care physician.
The Importance of Regular Check-Ups
In addition to providing general health information, annual exams are an opportunity for doctors to look at specific risk factors for disease such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels and weight gain over time. They also give patients an opportunity to ask questions about their overall health and how they can improve it by making changes in their lifestyle or diet. What To Expect During A Checkup? Most people think that going into a doctor's office means getting poked with needles or having tests done right away--but this isn't always true! In fact, most visits begin with some basic information gathering: asking questions about medications taken recently; asking how often exercise was done during the past month (or years); inquiring about any new symptoms noticed since last visit...
In addition to exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet is one of the best ways to improve your heart health. A diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables can help reduce cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. It's also important to limit foods that are high in saturated fat such as red meat, butter and cheese.
A healthy diet includes:
Whole grains (such as brown rice or whole wheat bread)
Lean meats like chicken or fish (choose lean cuts)
Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day, five days a week.
The type of exercise you choose is up to you--it can be anything from walking around your neighborhood to jogging on the treadmill or playing tennis with friends. However, it's important that whatever activity you do includes some kind of aerobic component (like running) along with strength training (like lifting weights). This combination helps keep both your heart and lungs healthy by improving blood flow through vessels in the body and strengthening muscles throughout the body, including those used during exercise itself!
Step 4: Quit Smoking
Smoking is one of the most dangerous habits you can have. It's not just bad for your lungs, it also has a negative impact on your heart health. In fact, smoking is one of the leading causes of death in the United States and around the world. If you smoke 10 or more cigarettes per day, quitting will improve your overall health and extend your life expectancy by several years! Quitting smoking also reduces risk factors associated with heart disease including high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Here are some tips from our primary care physicians on how to quit:
Have a plan in place before starting out (i.e., set aside time each day when you won't be tempted)
Use nicotine patches or gum if necessary (these should only be used as part of an overall plan though)
Monitor Your Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
Monitoring your blood pressure and cholesterol is an important part of heart health. High blood pressure, or hypertension, can lead to serious health problems like heart disease and stroke if left untreated. It's also important to keep track of your cholesterol levels because high levels can increase your risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD).
How Do I Monitor My Blood Pressure?
You should check your own blood pressure once a week at home using an automatic digital cuff or manually by wrapping a cloth around the upper arm and squeezing it tight enough so that there is no pulse present in the artery being measured while inflating the cuff until it reaches 40 mm Hg above systolic (top number) or diastolic (bottom number) values on the gauge.* When Should I Seek Help?If you notice any changes in how often you have symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath; if these symptoms worsen over time; if they occur when lying down instead of sitting up straight; if they come on suddenly without warning; or if they occur while exercising after not having experienced any symptoms before then please call 911 immediately!