Healthy Living Heart-Healthy

Attack-proof your heart: Follow this easy, practical plan

“If you think about your heart — how it works 24 hours a day to keep you alive — you’ll understand how important it is to keep this powerful muscle as strong as possible,” said Dr. Gyanendra Sharma at Augusta University Heart and Cardiovascular Services.

Here are some suggestions to keep your ticker in tiptop shape:

  • Eat better. Choose a balanced diet with foods from all major food groups, emphasizing fruits, vegetables, grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, beans, poultry, lean meats and omega-3-rich fish.
  • Lower cholesterol levels. Limit dietary cholesterol to 300 milligrams a day (or 200 milligrams if you have coronary heart disease). If diet isn’t enough, ask your doctor about taking a cholesterol-lowering drug.
  • Watch your blood pressure. Use no more than about one teaspoon of salt a day. If lifestyle changes don’t work, your doctor may prescribe anti-hypertensive medication.
  • Tackle those triglycerides. Start by following a low-fat, low-calorie diet and exercising regularly. If that doesn’t do the trick, talk with your doctor about medications.
  • Sample soy. Eating soy protein in place of animal products reduces total cholesterol levels, the “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides. Try soy as a milk alternative with cereal or in recipes.
  • Enjoy yourself. Take up a fun exercise to help lower blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, plus stay in shape and reduce stress. Relax regularly with meditation, yoga, massage or a nice hot bath.
  • Benefit from breakthroughs. Visit your doctor regularly to check on your heart health and to learn about new and improved tests to diagnose your heart problem and treatments that can help you feel your best.

Know your risk today

Want to know your heart attack risk in just 15 minutes? Coronary calcium is one of the newer tests to find out your heart attack risk. Call 706-721-2328 today to schedule a screening.

About the author

Augusta University Health

Augusta University Health

Based in Augusta, Georgia, Augusta University Health is a world-class health care network, offering the most comprehensive primary, specialty and subspecialty care in the region. Augusta University Health provides skilled, compassionate care to its patients, conducts leading-edge clinical research and fosters the medical education and training of tomorrow’s health care practitioners. Augusta University Health is a not-for-profit corporation that manages the clinical operations associated with Augusta University.

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