By:Lori Tyler
on May 22, 2024

While genetic factors are beyond our control, many lifestyle choices that elevate your risk of heart disease can be changed. By identifying and modifying these habits, you can significantly improve your heart health. Here are seven detrimental habits you should address to safeguard your cardiovascular well-being:

  1. POOR DIET CHOICES: A diet high in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol can lead to the buildup of plaques in your arteries, a condition known as atherosclerosis. This condition significantly increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. To keep your heart healthy, prioritize a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
  2. LACK OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: Regular physical activity helps maintain a healthy weight, reduces blood pressure, lowers cholesterol levels, and improves overall heart function. Conversely, a sedentary lifestyle is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week.
  3. SMOKING: Smoking damages the lining of your arteries, leading to atherosclerosis. It also reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood and raises your blood pressure, both of which strain your heart. Quitting smoking can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease, even if you’ve smoked for many years.
  4. EXCESSIVE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION: According to American Heart Association recommendations, if you don’t drink already, don’t start. Excessive alcohol consumption can result in high blood pressure, heart failure, or stroke. It can also lead to cardiomyopathy, a condition that impairs the heart muscle.
  5. CHRONIC STRESS: Stress triggers the release of adrenaline, which temporarily increases your heart rate and blood pressure. Over time, chronic stress can contribute to heart disease. Finding healthy ways to manage stress, such as exercise, meditation, or engaging in hobbies, is essential for heart health.
  6. IGNORING SLEEP: Sleep is crucial for overall health, including heart health. Poor sleep patterns, including getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night or experiencing sleep apnea, can increase the risk of cardiovascular problems. Prioritize good sleep patterns and seek medical advice if you have trouble sleeping.
  7. NEGLECTING REGULAR HEALTH SCREENINGS: Many risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, often have no symptoms. Regular health screenings are vital to detect and manage these conditions early. Follow your doctor’s recommendations for check-ups and screenings to keep your heart health in check.

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death worldwide, but many of its risk factors are modifiable. By addressing these seven bad habits, you can significantly reduce your risk and lead a healthier, longer life. At Louisiana Cardiovascular & Thoracic Institute, we are committed to helping you achieve optimal heart health. If you have concerns about your risk of heart disease, schedule a consultation with us today. Remember, small changes can lead to significant improvements in your heart health. Start making healthier choices today and give your heart the care it deserves.



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