There are behaviors that the American Heart Association recommends for good cardiovascular health and good health over all, including avoiding smoking, keeping your weight at a healthy level and exercising regularly.
Health Exams That Promote Cardiovascular Health
An optimal blood pressure is good to maintain, as are good blood glucose levels and good total cholesterol. The AHA has best ranges for these numbers and it is best if no medication is required to maintain them.
Once, the American Heart Association, the American Diabetic Association and the American Cancer Association limited their attentions to one disease at a time, but their views have changed. It is believed that all these conditions are linked and better overall health is better than just taking care of your heart or some other singular organ. There are recommendations doctors and other health professionals commonly make regarding good cardiovascular health, divided into tips for adults and children. They include:
- Smoking and Cardiovascular Health:
- Adults: It is never too soon to quit smoking. The earlier you decide to quit, the better it
is for your health. You may be surprised at how quickly your lungs get back to normal, which
will not only help out your lungs, but your heart as well.
- Children: It is very hard to quit smoking once you’ve started, so it’s best to never start at all.
- BMI and Cardiovascular Health:
- Adults: A healthy weight is always important, but that should be accomplished by a healthy diet that a doctor can recommend, not the fad of the day. These fly-by-night diets often work by ignoring an entire food group or by some concept that sounds completely outlandish – often because they are completely outlandish. Pounds lost with fad diets are typically water weight, which will return quickly as soon as you stray from the diet. A good diet will cause slow steady weight loss. This weight loss will be much easier to maintain. If it is difficult for you to lose weight, the first step should be to prevent further weight gain. It is also important to note where the extra weight is carried. Someone who has more of an apple shape is more at risk than someone who is pear shaped.
- Children: It is healthy for children to be active, meaning at least an hour of physical activity each day. Eating healthy food is just as important for a child as it is for an adult. Not only should there be an hour of physical activity, but there should be a period each day where no screen time is allowed, including television, computers, video consoles and so forth.
- A Healthy Diet and Cardiovascular Health
- Adults: You can never go wrong with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Avoid fried foods and those with added salt, and eat only healthy fats. Your protein should be derived from lean meats and plant sources. The best plant source is soy, which is the only complete plant protein.
- Children: Don’t force children to clean their plates. If they are full, they shouldn’t eat anymore. Your children aren’t going to starve. They’ll eat when they’re hungry. Just give them healthy food and try smaller portions.
The American Heart Association has created a chart that has three levels of general health rated poor, intermediate and optimal. It creates the grade based on your diet and other behaviors. You could find this information at their website.
Living a Heart Healthy Life
Many people go into the doctor for their regular checkup thinking everything will be fine. You might be still relatively young and keep in good shape, after all. You may be shocked to find there are certain risk factors to which you need to pay attention. Smoking, even two cigarettes, pipes or cigars a week, significantly raises your risk of cardiovascular disease. Lack of exercise is not good for your heart, nor is staying up late far too often.
Diet is a big thing to worry about when it comes to the health of your heart. Those several burgers a week start to add up. Not enough vegetables or fruits can also start to take a toll on your health, as can too many fried foods and saturated fats. You’ll be able to see it when your doctor gives you your cholesterol numbers.
You don’t have to be obese or even seriously overweight to start developing heart problems. Cholesterol isn’t the only problem – you should always be on the watch for developing diabetic conditions or kidney difficulties due to diet. Having more than two drinks a day may also have an eventual detrimental effect on your liver. And there is always the specter of high blood pressure, which affects many people at some point in their lives. With a healthy lifestyle, even if you have indicators for some of these problems, you can get back to optimal health without medications.
Stress is also a factor to consider, whether work or family related. This can also contribute to poor cardiovascular health.
A visit to a nutritionist is never a bad idea. You can learn new exercises, some recipes that will help, rather than hinder, your heart, and ways to deal with the stress in your life.