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How to sustain a healthy heart?

Updated on April 25, 2015
picture of a normal healthy heart
picture of a normal healthy heart

What are the steps to avoid or lower the chanes of heart attack or stroke?

Heart disease is the most common cause of death among women in the United States, and stroke is the third most common cause of death. Heart dis­ease and stroke also are major causes of long-term disability. (From “A Lifetime of Good Health-U.S. Department of Health and Services)

The good news is that there are steps that a person can do to avoid or lower the chances of having a heart attack or stroke, or other heart problems. Here are some of the things they suggested that you can do:

1. Don’t smoke. Smoking hurts your heart and increases your risk of stroke. If you smoke, try to quit.

2. Get more exercise. Try to do at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of aerobic exercise each week, and muscle-strengthening exercises on at least 2 days each week.

3. Eat heart-healthy foods. Focus on eating fruits and veg­etables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, beans, peas, nuts, and lean meats.

4. Eat less salt. Use spices, herbs, lemon, and lime instead of salt to flavor your food.

5. If you drink alcohol, don’t have more than one drink each day. Too much alcohol raises your blood pressure and can raise your risk of stroke and other illnesses.

6. Get a blood pressure test. If it is high, talk to your doctor about how to lower it.

7. Get your cholesterol tested. If it is high, talk to your doctor or nurse about losing weight (if you’re overweight), getting more exercise, eating foods low in cholesterol and saturated fat, and possibly taking medicine to help.

8. Get tested for diabetes. If you have diabetes, keep an eye on your blood glucose levels. High blood glucose levels can play a role in cardiovascular disease.

9. Take your medicine. If your doctor has prescribed medicine to help you, take it exactly as you have been told to.

(Office on Women's Health)

The heart

Our heart is a muscular organ that acts like a pump to continuously send blood throughout our body.

It located is at the center of our circulatory system. To be exact, it lies in the middle to lower part of the chest cavity toward the left side (breast). The heart is hollow and has three layers such as: The outer layer called pericardium, which is a thin sac covering the heart. The second layer –myocardium. It is thick, muscular part of the heart. The third layer is the endocardium which is the inner layer, a membrane; it lies in the inner surface of the heart.

This system consists of a network of blood vessels, such as arteries, veins, and capillaries. These blood vessels carry blood to and from all areas of your body.

The heart is vital to our health and nearly everything that goes on in our body. Without the heart's pumping action, blood cannot circulate within our body.

Blood carries the oxygen and nutrients that our organs need to work normally. Blood also carries carbon dioxide, a waste product, to your lungs to be passed out of your body and into the air.

In short, if there is a part of this very vital organ that will not function properly, it affects the whole systems of our body.

In addition, the ConsumerReports “The Best of Health” reported, “eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will supply lots of possibly heart-shielding antioxidants as well as B vitamins, which help control levels of potentially heart-harming protein called homocysteine. (Such a diet may help fend off cancer as well.)

Along with this, it was also suggested to consider taking a daily supplement containing 3-6 micrograms of vitamin B12 (which many people over age 50 cannot absorb adequately from food).

Have various relaxation techniques to reduce excessive stress, which is a likely coronary risk factor.

Regular physical activity or an active lifestyle not only reduces stress and coronary risk factor but it lower risks of early death from a lot of causes. According to the US Department of Health and Services, there is strong evidence that regular physical activity can also lower the risk of:

a. Heart disease

b. Stroke

c. High blood pressure

d. Unhealthy cholesterol levels

e. Type 2 diabetes

f. Metabolic syndrome (group of conditions such as high blood pressure, high blood glucose levels, high levels of triglycerides, a type of fat, in the blood, low levels of HDL, the good cholesterols, in the blood, and too much fat around the waist.)

g. Colon cancer

h. Breast cancer

i. Falls

j. Depression

Regular activity can help you reach and stay at a healthy weight. It can also improve your

cardiorespiratory (heart, lungs, and blood vessels) and muscular fitness. For older adults, activity can improve mental function.

More information can be obtained online in this link:

Eating a healthy diet full of nutrients can really in maintaining a healthy weight. It is not only for our heart but for our whole health. Keeping a healthy weight may help protect you from certain diseases. A nutrient is anything in food that:

a. Provides energy

b. Helps your body “burn” another nutrient to provide energy

c. Helps build or repair tissue

Here are some suggested healthy choices of foods that a person should eat mainly to help prevent heart disease, stroke, and perhaps other diseases:

· Fruits and vegetables

·Grains (at least half of your grains should be whole grains such as whole wheat, oatmeal, and brown rice)

· Fat-free or low-fat-versions of milk, cheese, yogurt, and other milk products

· Fish, skinless poultry, lean red meats, beans, eggs, and nuts

· Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (some foods that have these “good” fats include salmon, avocados, olives, walnuts, and olive oil)

A person may or may not be able to do all the suggested things above to keep a healthy heart. The bottom-line is if we will just follow and really adhere to what is good for our health, we can enjoy a good health of a lifetime as the women health of the US Department of Health and Services says.

In a nutshell:

1. Get plenty of exercise

2. Follow a good diet

3. Keep your heart clean and drug-free

Be smart and have a healthy heart.

Sources and references:

U.S. Department of Health and Services:

ConsumerReports: The Best of Health

Photos: from google:

National Institute of Health/National Heart, Lung Institute


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