Take care of your heart | Ascension

Take care of your heart

Tips to prevent heart disease

Erik Stilp, MD
Interventional Cardiologist, Ascension Medical Group Wisconsin

Heart disease risk factors

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. If you have symptoms or are unsure about your heart disease risk, talk with a doctor. Knowing your risk for heart disease could save your life. Here are some common factors that contribute to a greater risk of heart disease. 

  • Age 
  • Gender
  • Family history 
  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol and/or high blood pressure 
  • Physical inactivity
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Poor diet and nutrition 
  • Alcohol consumption

Tips to improve overall heart health

There is no better time than now to take care of your heart. Here are the top four things you can start doing today to keep your heart healthy.

  1. Get vaccinated, get boosted - there is an overlap between heart disease and the COVID-19 pandemic that should not be overlooked. 
  2. Eat healthy - avoid eating red meat and processed food. Incorporate plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and nuts into your diet. These are all great foods for heart health. 
  3. Exercise - get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week. It’s also important to keep up your cardiovascular activity, especially during the winter. 
  4. Stop smoking - talk with your doctor today about ways you can stop smoking.

Don’t delay care

Delaying import heart care can lead to more serious health concerns down the road. Please remember, a heart attack is an emergency and the hospital is still the safest place to receive care. Dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency room if you or a loved one are experiencing any signs of a heart attack such as chest pain or discomfort; lightheadedness; nausea or vomiting; jaw, neck or back pain; discomfort or pain in the arm or shoulder; or shortness of breath. 

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