Jeanine Patterson, a Registered Nurse who focuses on educating about health promotion and disease prevention from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico talked about ways to lower your risk for heart disease and how to improve your overall heart health Friday.
Heart disease or cardiovascular disease is also sometimes called Coronary Artery Disease. It’s the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. The disease is responsible for one in every three deaths.
There are many risk factors for heart disease. Some factors you cannot control like age and family history. However, making some changes in your lifestyle can reduce your chance of having heart disease. Controllable risk factors for heart disease include diet, activity level, stress, weight, smoking and drinking.
Heart disease occurs when plaque develops in the arteries and blood vessels that lead to the heart. The plaque is a waxy substance made up of cholesterol, fatty molecules and minerals that accumulate in arteries over time. This then blocks important nutrients and oxygen from reaching your heart and can cause a heart attack.
Warning Signs of Heart Disease
- Chest pain-heavy “like an elephant sitting on your chest”
- Radiated pain around your chest (neck, shoulders, abdomen, arms, back, jaw)
- Trouble Breathing
- Excessive Sweating
- Severe fatigue
Healthy Tips People Could Follow to Improve their Heart Health
- A healthy, high fiber diet that is low in saturated fats
- Eating real food that is nutrient-rich like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes and other plant-based foods that have natural vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to stay healthy.
- Regular physical activity can help you maintain your weight, keep off weight that you lose and help you reach physical and cardiovascular fitness.
- Lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, monitoring your blood pressure, controlling your blood sugar if you are diabetic, staying away from high-fat processed foods, and if you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation.
- Reduce stress in your life by practicing stress management techniques