The leading cause of death in the United States, heart disease is not a condition to be taken likely. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of a heart attack. Lifestyle adjustments and habits can have a powerful impact on the health of your heart, and at Virgin Islands Orthopaedics and Medical Specialists in St. Thomas and St. Croix we are dedicated to helping you lead a heart-smart lifestyle. Here are some ways you can reduce your risk and achieve your best health:
Smoking, and even exposure to second-hand smoke, increases your risk of suffering a heart attack, as well as slowing the recovery process. Ask your provider about programs and aids to help you quit smoking if you are struggling to give up nicotine.
Physical activity is an important component of heart health. Any activity that raises your heart rate counts, from vigorous exercise like running to more low impact activities like biking. Even performing chores and playing at the park can help strengthen your heart.
Eat a nutritious diet
While it's okay to have treats on occasion, make sure the majority of your caloric intake comes from unprocessed, vitamin, and mineral-rich foods. Fruits, vegetables, lean meats and dairy, whole grains, and healthy fats like nuts and olive oil are great choices. Remember to include plenty of fiber in your diet, and limit saturated and trans fats. If you're having a problem creating a healthy meal plan, talk to your St. Thomas and St. Croix providers.
Watch your cholesterol
"Bad" cholesterol, or LDL, should be kept at a low level to reduce the risk of a heart attack, while "good" cholesterol, or HDL, should be a higher number. Diet and fitness may be enough to get your cholesterol on track, or your provider may prescribe medication.
Maintain a healthy weight
Obesity, or being underweight, can put a strain on your heart. Because body mass index measurements don't take into account factors like muscle percentage, age, and fitness level, ask your provider to help identify your ideal weight range, and adjust your diet and fitness as necessary to achieve that weight.
Keep your stress low
A high-stress lifestyle can do a number on your heart, so it is important to find a balance between work, leisure, and sleep. Try mediation, breathing exercises, or talking to a friend if you find your stress levels are peaking.
Reach out to the experts at Virgin Islands Orthopaedics and Medical Specialists today for more tips on reducing your risk of a heart attack. Call our St. Thomas office at 340-714-2845 or reach our St. Croix location at 340-692-5000.