The following tips are brought to you by the Iowa Heart Center and Mercy—the leader for cardiovascular care.
Iowa Heart and Mercy participate in groundbreaking clinical research trials and offer cutting edge treatments including minimally invasive heart surgery and heart valve repair. For more information, visit iowaheart.com.
- Manage your blood pressure. It’s sometimes called the “Silent Killer” because it has no symptoms. Keep blood pressure below 120/80.
- Control cholesterol. It’s the fat-like, waxy substance found in the bloodstream. LDL is the “bad” and HDL is the “good.” Keep total cholesterol less than 200.
- Reduce blood sugar. Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease or a stroke. Keep fasting blood glucose less than 100.
- Eat a heart healthy diet consisting of at least 4 servings of fruits and vegetables and at least 3 servings of fiber-rich whole grains per day.
- Exercise regularly. Exercising for as little as 30 minutes each day helps lower blood pressure, increases good cholesterol, controls blood sugar, reduces stress and controls body weight.
- Stop smoking or using tobacco. Smokers have a higher risk of developing hardening of the arteries which can lead to coronary artery disease, heart attack and stroke.
- Lose weight. Reduce your risk for heart disease by losing weight and keeping it off. Too much fat—especially at your waist—means a higher risk for high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.
- De-stress your heart. Stress raises blood pressure, heart rate, and levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Take time out each day to relax and breathe.
- Eat a heart healthy diet consisting of at least 2 servings of fish per week. Also keep sodium to less than 1,500 MG per day.
- Know your risk. Risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, smoking, physical inactivity and family history of heart disease.
- Know the warning signs. Chest discomfort, shortness of breath, discomfort in the arms, neck, jaw or back, sweating, nausea or dizziness all may be signs. Call 911 immediately if you believe you are having a heart attack.