As you may or may not know, heart disease is the leading killer of Americans. But the good news is that simple changes to your current lifestyle can impact the health of your heart in a positive way. Since February is Heart Health Month, now is the perfect time to explore the many ways you can help improve your heart’s health.
If you are a smoker, the best thing you can do for your heart is to stop. Not only can this nasty habit adversely affect your heart, ultimately it can take its toll on your overall health as well. Smoking makes your heart work harder by increasing heart rate, tightening major arteries and raising blood pressure which can lead to a stroke. Chemicals found in cigarette smoke such as tar and carbon monoxide increase your risk of developing atherosclerosis, the buildup of fatty substances in the arteries, which can also cause a heart attack or stroke.
The sooner you quit, the better. Not only will you add years to your life, your overall quality of life is certain to improve. Your energy level will increase, your sense of taste and smell will return, and your skin and teeth will look better!
Do you sit at your desk all day and then become a couch potato when you get home? Do yourself a favor. Break the cycle and add some serious movement to your daily routine. Physical activity is not only beneficial for your heart, it also improves overall mental and physical health. And now that you no longer smoke, it will be much easier to be more active! Take a walk, ride a bike, jog or swim for at least 30 minutes, five days each week. Short on time? Then opt to take the stairs and park farther out in the lot. After all, some activity each day is better than none.
Eat Healthy, Feel Healthy
We all know the feeling of needing an immediate nap after we’ve indulged on a super-sized take-out double bacon burger, fries and chocolate shake. Imagine how much energy you’d have if you swapped that burger for a grilled chicken sandwich with a side of veggies.
Your heart will be ever grateful if you cut back on those nutrient-deprived junk foods and begin to integrate a few superfoods into your diet like almonds, salmon, blueberries, cauliflower, and black beans. Yes, even dark chocolate makes the list – in moderation, of course.
Sleep More, Stress Less
It’s no secret that after a good night’s rest, we are more equipped to face the challenges of another day. Sleep is necessary to restore the body, to “refill your tank” so-to-speak. It increases overall happiness and decreases stress.
And speaking of stress, the less, the better. High stress levels can lead to weight gain, anxiety, and depression, none of which are good for your heart or your overall health. So, take up yoga, or engage in some sort of meditation/deep breathing techniques throughout the day. By lowering your stress, you’ll sleep better and in turn, make your heart happier.
Flying with Heart Disease
So, you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease. Does this mean no flying? Not necessarily. Air travel is generally safe for people with heart disease. With a little common sense and some pre-planning, your flying experiences can continue to be very pleasant ones. To minimize any risks associated with flying, follow these practical guidelines:
- Ease any health concerns you may have about flying by talking to your doctor prior to traveling
- Minimize stress and aggravation by arriving early at the airport, allowing plenty of time to get to the proper gate
- Keep prescribed medications with you as you board the plane, rather than inside your checked suitcase
- Carry contact information for your doctor(s) and family members with you on the plane, as well as a copy of your medical history
- If possible, secure an aisle seat so you can easily get up and walk around periodically when on a long flight
- While in flight, drink plenty of fluids (but not alcohol) to prevent blood clots
Give the Gift of Life
This month and every month make it a priority to keep your heart healthy, so you can live your life to the fullest. For some, this task is a bit more daunting due to a life-threatening illness. In fact, right now there are 113,000 men, women, and children waiting for organ transplants. And every 10 minutes another person is added to the national transplant waiting list.
Grand Aire plays a vital role in the transportation of surgical teams and organs once donated. We operate around the clock to provide organ and tissue door-to-door service that is timely, efficient, and dependable.
Interested in becoming an organ donor? Register with Donate Life America right here, through our medical services page.