Heart Health Part 2: Healthy habits to lower your risk for heart disease

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About 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year. That’s 1 in every 4 deaths according to the Centers for Disease Control. Doctors say certain risk factors make you even more vulnerable to this silent killer. 

“Smokers have three times the risk of developing heart disease or a cardio vascular disease than people who don’t smoke. Similar type of numbers exist for diabetes and a lot of the diabetes today is related to being overweight so if you can eat a proper diet and control your weight once again you can reduce your risk by a third,” Dr. Daniel Sporn said. 

Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease. It’s caused when plaque, made up of cholesterol deposits from fatty foods, builds up in the wall of your arteries cutting off blood supply to the heart. When trying to clean up your diet, doctors say stick to the basics.

“When it comes to eating we want to eat properly we don’t want to over eat we don’t want to supersize our meals so getting back to a good diet getting away from sweets and high cholesterol and fatty foods is a healthy way to live,” Dr. Daniel Sporn said. 

As far as we’re concerned, I think we would stick along the lines of the Mediterranean diet which would be heavy on vegetables, some fruit, some nuts, complex carbs, whole grains, and some good fats like olive oil things like that,” Dr. Venu Thirumurti said. 

And no healthy lifestyle is complete without exercise. The american heart association recommends adults should get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise. 

“Ideally you should be getting at least 5 half hour sessions a week or more and do some weights to strengthen your joints and muscles,” Dr. Venu Thirumurti said. 

And whether you’re fit or not, one risk factor for heart disease impacts us all. 

“Stress alone even without other risk factors has significant adverse effects on the heart that can cause heart rate to go up or blood pressure to go up so that’s something that certainly is challenging for all of us to control but it’s important that we trying to address it as best we can,” Dr. Daniel Sporn said.

Doctors say taking small breaks during the day can go along way. 

“Sometimes if you’re in a position where you can just manage to close the door for 10 minutes and listen to music or whatever you can do that’s relaxing or even a power nap, those are good things,” Dr. Daniel Sporn said. 

And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to ask for a helping hand. 

“When we’re in positions of high stress we have to find a way to release that even if it’s just telling someone you’re a little overwhelmed and asking for help sometimes,” Dr. Daniel Sporn said. 

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