Protecting Your Heart Health
Taking preventative care of our bodies is an important part of living a happy, healthy life. Because it’s one of your body’s most vital organs, protecting heart health is vital.
The term “heart disease” refers to several types of heart conditions that can often be prevented or managed through the following tips:
Change Your Lifestyle Habits
Studies have shown that a poor lifestyle can increase your risks of developing certain diseases. Called “lifestyle diseases,” preventable chronic diseases can often progress due to poor habits such as a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and excessive drinking.
One of the most common chronic diseases from poor lifestyle choices is cardiovascular (heart) disease. To support your heart health, consider eating a heart-healthy diet, control blood pressure and cholesterol, and include more movement and exercise.
In addition to being more active and eating well, it’s important to reduce stress. Did you know that heart attacks are more common on Mondays? This may be because the beginning of the week seems to cause people more stress — and your stress hormones tend to be higher in the morning. A rise in blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones can all break pockets of plaque and cause a blockage to your heart.
Consider making changes to your routine and pick up a mindful and relaxing hobby such as yoga, meditation, reading, or another creative option to help lower your stress levels.
Know Your Medical History
Another important aspect of improving your health is knowing your own medical history. About 18.2 million adults aged 20 and older have coronary artery disease, while 805,000 adults have a heart attack each year. If you’re aware of heart conditions that run in your family or have been noted previously by your doctor, you’ll have more information on how to adjust your habits and support your health.
Often, your primary care physician will recommend further testing and possible evaluation by a specialist if needed to determine your risks of heart disease or another chronic condition.
While both men and women can form heart disease, there are some risk factors that contribute to a higher chance of the condition, including:
- Being male
- Older age
- Being postmenopausal
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Physical inactivity
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- High C-reactive protein
- Uncontrolled stress, depression, and anger
- Poor diet
- Alcohol use
Men vs. Women
In addition to knowing your family history, it’s important to know that the signs of a heart attack can differ between men and women. Typically, women may experience uncomfortable squeezing, pressure, or pain in the center of the chest, arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach. They may also experience shortness of breath and nausea.
Men, on the other hand, experience more traditional heart attack symptoms such as chest pain, discomfort, and pressure. Pain may also be prevalent in the arms, neck, back, and jaw, as well as shortness of breath, sweating, and discomfort that mimics heartburn.
Receive Routine Medical Care
Remember, knowing your family history is important — but so is receiving routine medical care. You should see your doctor for regular physicals and tests to make sure your ticker is in tip-top shape.
When Would I Need an EKG?
Your doctor can perform a number of tests to check your heart health, very commonly including an electrocardiogram (EKG). An EKG is one of the primary tools used to diagnose arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats), heart attacks, and many other heart disorders. Your doctor may recommend an EKG test if you are experiencing the following symptoms:
- Chest pain
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Chronic fatigue
- Difficulty exercising
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
If you have experienced these symptoms or have a family history of heart disease, an EKG may be an appropriate test for you.
Family Urgent Care Services in Arlington
No matter your health concern — our team at Urgentology Care is here to help. We will ensure you get an accurate diagnosis and the appropriate treatment for your illness. Stop in today for a walk-in appointment, or call to make an appointment. (817) 799-7273