If you were recently diagnosed with heart disease, your doctor may have talked with you about necessary lifestyle changes you will need to make. Heart disease is a serious condition to have. It is the leading cause of death in the U.S., and it accounts for around 610,000 deaths each year. If your doctor detects heart disease at an early stage, your chances of survival are much greater, and you may also be able to treat the disease through lifestyle changes and medication instead of going through a surgical operation. Here are three important changes you may need to make in order to beat this disease.
Change Your Diet
The foods you consume can either help you conquer your heart disease or make it worse. If you are not a healthy eater, you will need to become one. You will need to start eating foods that are good for your heart and avoiding foods that cause damage. Foods that are good to eat include the following:
- Salmon – This type of fish is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for heart health.
- Oatmeal – Eating a bowl of oatmeal each day is also good for your heart, because it helps reduce your cholesterol level. When choosing oatmeal, avoid quick oats or processed oats. Stick with raw or old-fashioned oats.
- Dark chocolate – Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which are known for helping control blood pressure.
- Tofu – Tofu is a good source of proteins and amino acids and can protect you from heart disease.
- Dark beans – Beans contain a lot of fiber and protein, and they can also help you protect your heart.
You can talk to your doctor about other good foods to eat, and he or she can help you understand what foods to stay away from.
Begin An Exercise Plan
As long as your heart is still somewhat healthy, your doctor may suggest starting an exercise plan. Exercising is a great activity for your health, and it offers many benefits for people who are diagnosed with the beginning stages of heart disease.
Exercising each day for around 30 minutes is usually enough to have positive effects, and you can choose from a variety of different types of exercises. Walking, for example, is a great option to use if you are trying to reduce the effects of your heart disease. If you are weak and have a hard time exercising, you should start off slow and work your way up. Try exercising for just five minutes a day. After doing this for a few days, you might be able to build up to 10 minutes a day.
Swimming is another good form of exercise for people with heart disease. Swimming is gentle on the joints in your body, yet it offers a good workout. If swimming across the pool is too hard for you to do, you can still benefit just from walking around in the pool. The resistance of the water against your body when you move is exercise, and it can help you strengthen your heart.
When you exercise, you are strengthening your heart, because your heart is a muscle. The more you exercise, the stronger your heart may become.
Control Your Blood Pressure And Cholesterol Levels
In addition to making these two changes, you may also need to begin taking medication. If you are not used to doing this, it can be a hard habit to develop. The two most common types of medication used for treating heart disease are those designed to reduce blood pressure and those designed to reduce cholesterol levels.
High blood pressure and high cholesterol are both bad factors to have. Both can lead to the development of heart disease, and both will worsen the effects and severity of heart disease.
When your blood pressure is higher than it should be, it causes your heart to pump harder than usual. This places extra strain on your heart, which can cause it to wear out faster. High blood pressure can also cause damage to your arteries and lead to an enlarged heart. If you are overweight, you may be able to naturally lower your blood pressure by losing some weight. You could also reduce your blood pressure by eliminating salt from your diet.
High cholesterol also damages the heart because it builds up in your arteries. This causes blockages of blood flow, and it can lead to many types of heart problems. Lowering your cholesterol is something you can do by exercising, but you may also be able to achieve this by eating the right foods. Foods that can reduce the bad cholesterol in your body include oatmeal, fiber, almonds, and fish.
While it is better to try to reduce these levels naturally, doctors will also prescribe medication simply for protection. Medications may have side effects, but they will help you protect your heart against the damage that can be caused by high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Treating heart disease is much easier to do if it is detected early on. If you would like to learn more about the options you have, contact a doctor, like those at Van Wert County Hospital, that offers heart disease treatment.