Hearth health and a healthy lifestyle are directly connected, and avoiding bad habits is the most important aspect of improving heart health. High blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood pressure all negatively affect heart health, and can lead to heart attack, stroke, peripheral artery disease, aortic aneurysm, or heart failure.

What’s good is that bad habits can be altered, and damage from these habits can often be reversed. By following the advice laid out in this article, you can be on the road back to optimal heart health and greatly reduce the likeliness of heart-related issues later in life.

  1. Avoid tobacco and alcohol.
    Smoking is bad for heart health because cigarette smoke contains chemicals that damage arteries and blood vessels. Smoking damages the lining of your arteries, leading to a buildup of fatty material that narrows the artery. Carbon dioxide in tobacco smoke also reduces the oxygen in your blood, making your heart pump harder to supply the body with oxygen. Alcohol also has negative effects on heart health. While some studies have shown that a glass of red wine a day can actually reduce the occurrence of heart problems—due to the production of good cholesterol—the same can be said of drinking grape juice or eating grapes. If you drink, you should do so in moderation (no more than 1-2 drinks per day).
  2. Improve your diet.
    Processed foods, sodium, sugary drinks, red meat, and rapidly digested carbohydrates all lead to an increased risk of heart disease. By limiting the amount of these foods, while increasing the intake of fruits, vegetables, unsaturated fat, and whole grains, you can greatly reduce your risk of heart disease.
  3. Exercise is by far the best way to combat potential heart problems. Physical activity that gets your heart pumping helps to strengthen your cardiovascular system. For optimal health, a person should be active at least 30 minutes a day. A physical therapist can help you to develop a routine that will best help to prevent heart disease.
  4. Maintain a healthy weight.
    If you’re overweight, the extra weight that you’re carrying around puts additional strain on your heart, which causes high blood pressure. Being overweight is also associated with higher risk of diabetes. Diabetes causes your body to have higher blood glucose levels, which ultimately leads to damaged blood vessels, which can cause heart disease. By dropping 5-10% of your bodyweight, you dramatically reduce your risk for diabetes and heart disease.
  5. #ChoosePT
    Opioid use has been directly connected to cardiovascular problems and heart disease. By using opioid medications to treat chronic pain, you dramatically increase the likeliness of suffering from heart disease. In fact, according to research from Vanderbilt University, many opioid related deaths are mislabeled as overdoses, when they were actually caused by cardiovascular problems. By treating chronic pain with physical therapy rather than long-term opioid use, you can restore yourself to optimal health without the increased risk of heart disease.

For more information on how to reach optimal heart health using safe and proven methods, please contact Access Physical Therapy & Wellness by visiting http://accessptw.com.