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Cardiovascular Wellness Tips: Reduce Heart Disease Risk at Home

As you may already know, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Even though some risk factors for heart disease are beyond your control, like family history or age, you can lower your risk by following cardiovascular wellness tips. Your lifestyle is your best defense against heart disease and stroke. 

By making simple lifestyle changes that prioritize cardiovascular wellness, you can significantly reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke without leaving your home. Keep reading as we explore what you need to know about heart health, including practical cardiovascular wellness tips for maintaining your well-being at home.

Understanding The Essentials of Heart Health

Before discussing lifestyle changes to lower your heart disease risk, it's crucial to understand what heart disease is and your risk level.   

What is Heart Disease?

People use the term "heart disease" to describe various conditions that affect the heart, and the most common type in the United States is coronary artery disease (CAD). Sometimes also called coronary heart disease (CHD), CAD causes decreased blood flow to the heart, which can result in a heart attack. It is the result of the coronary arteries that take blood to the heart becoming blocked by cholesterol and plaque. Over time, CAD can weaken the heart, leading to heart failure.

Am I At Risk for Heart Disease?

The fact is that anyone can develop heart disease, with the risk of heart disease increasing as we age. However, certain groups are more likely to develop heart disease, including those who:

  • Have preexisting conditions (such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes)
  • Are overweight
  • Smoke or use alcohol
  • Have a family history of heart disease
  • Are not psychically active
  • Don't eat a healthy diet
  • Have depression or another mental health condition

Knowing your risk factors for heart disease can help you make targeted lifestyle changes to improve your heart health. You should also talk to your doctor about your risk factors and what preventative steps you can take to reduce your risk of heart disease.

6 Practical Cardiovascular Wellness Tips at Home

While heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, this does not mean that you are powerless. Making cardiovascular health a priority at home can help lower your risk of heart disease. In addition to knowing your risk factors and talking to your doctor about your overall health, here is a look at a few practical tips that can help you improve your heart health through simple lifestyle changes.  

Stop Smoking

One of the best things you can do for cardiovascular health is to stop smoking. While this can be a hard change to make, it is critical that you remove tobacco from your life, and you should try to stay away from secondhand smoke as well. The fact is that chemicals in tobacco can damage the heart and blood vessels, increasing your risk of heart disease. Additionally, cigarette smoke lowers oxygen in the blood, which increases blood pressure and heart rate. Smoking can then significantly increase your risk of heart disease or stroke

The good news is that the risk of heart disease starts to drop as little as a day after you quit smoking, and your risk of heart disease drops by half after a year. No matter how long you've smoked, quitting can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease. Feel free to ask your doctors, caregivers, or family members for help if you need assistance quitting.

Be Physically Active

While you've likely heard this before, ensuring you get plenty of exercise is one of the most important things you can do to improve heart health. The fact is that a sedentary lifestyle is one of the leading contributors to heart disease, so anything you can do to get up and move can have a profound effect on your cardiovascular health.

Of course, depending on your mobility and physical health, exercise will look different to each person. However, being active doesn't have to mean working out at the gym or running on the treadmill. Making simple lifestyle changes at home, such as using a standing desk, taking a short walk around the block once a day, or doing yoga a few times a week, can go a long way in reducing your risk for heart disease.   

Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet

Your diet is another major contributor to your heart health. To reduce your risk of heart disease, try to maintain a heart-healthy diet that limits processed food, unnecessary sugars, and salt. Center your diet around vegetables, fruits, whole grains, plant proteins, and lean meats. Adjusting your diet may be difficult at first, but even minor changes like reducing dining out can significantly decrease your risk of heart disease, benefiting both your physical and emotional health.

Get Plenty of Sleep

While you likely already know that diet and exercise play an essential role in heart health, it may surprise you to learn that sleep also impacts your heart health. It is because people who don't get enough sleep have a higher risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, and diabetes, which can all increase your risk of heart disease. Adults should aim to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night. To improve sleep duration and quality, maintain a bedtime routine and schedule, keep electronic devices out of the bedroom, and ensure you are psychically active during the day.  

Reduce Stress

Chronic stress can also put you at risk of heart disease by increasing blood pressure and encouraging bad health habits like binge drinking and overeating. While managing stress is sometimes easier said than done, finding ways to do so can help boost your overall physical and mental health. Engaging in activities such as talking to a loved one, practicing meditation or yoga, and incorporating mindfulness and breathing exercises can reduce stress levels. Incorporating these activities into your daily routine can help reduce stress levels and improve your heart health.  

Manage Health Conditions

Certain conditions can put you at increased risk of heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and diabetes. If you have a preexisting condition that could impact heart health, it is then essential that you take steps to manage these conditions to reduce your risk of heart disease. 

For instance, getting plenty of exercise, improving your diet, and taking your medication as prescribed can help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, reducing your risk of heart disease. Be sure to consult your doctor about your health conditions and lower your risk of heart disease.

Explore Our Cardiovascular Wellness Tips

Starting a heart-healthy journey can feel overwhelming because you might not know where to start. Fortunately, you do not have to go through this journey alone. 

If you are ready to take action to improve your heart health, consider reaching out to Elite Choice. We act as an intermediary for the CDPAP program and can help you hire a family member or friend as your caregiver. Choosing a loved one to act as your caregiver will ensure that you have someone looking out for you that you can trust. Not only will a loved one work hard to provide you with the care you need, but they can also provide the support you need to maintain a heart-healthy lifestyle, during American Heart Month.

Written by: Leah Ganz
Director of Patient Services

Leah Ganz, RN, BSN is the Director of Patient Services at Elite Home Health Care. She has an extensive background in homecare and previously worked in various specialties including pediatrics, pain management and internal medicine. She oversees all patient services across Elite's departments.