For some families, worrying about heart health can be a constant state of mind. If you know someone who is suffering from heart disease, or has a risk of it in the future, then you might be wondering more about how to keep your heart healthy. After all, sometimes it seems like even people who do everything right are still at risk for heart attacks. So how do you keep yourself safe, and why does it matter?

Wylie ER is here to help explain how heart health not only affects your risk of cardiac arrest but can have a greater impact on the rest of your body. In honor of American Heart Month, we want to keep our community educated on their overall health, and why a strong heart is so important.

Your Heart in Your Engine

We all know that hearts pump blood throughout the whole body and need them to power our bloodstream. In this way, a body’s heart is like its engine, and without that motor running smoothly, your body’s ability to move and function will suffer.

A weak or damaged heart doesn’t just pose a risk for heart-related illness. If your heart isn’t delivering blood like it should, then your whole body might start to feel sluggish. It will be harder to breathe, your muscles will ache, and a myriad of other symptoms could begin to arise when your heart isn’t working properly. Sometimes these effects happen quickly and are easy to diagnose, but other times they might happen gradually, and could be mistaken for a cold, the flu, or another kind of infection. This is because your blood carries important nutrients and oxygen to your other organs, and when your heart cannot move this blood like it should, your body won’t get the fuel it needs to properly function.

With your heart acting as the central engine for your whole body, maintaining its health is not just a matter of having a good resting heart rate. It is a matter of keeping your whole body in the best condition possible.

How to Keep Your Heart Healthy

We hear all the time about eating right and exercising to stay healthy, but for some families, this advice is a little too vague. If you’re changing your diet to be more heart-conscious, then where do you start? And if you’re bringing new exercise habits to a family with kids of different ages, how do you get everyone on board? Breaking some of these down into simple steps that anyone can include in their daily habits.

  • Use less high-fat and high-salt ingredients when cooking. Things like butter and bacon might taste good, but if you eat fatty foods too often, you can increase your bad cholesterol levels and endanger your heart. Try substituting butter with olive oil and using leaner cuts of meat for your meal planning instead.
  • Eat more foods that have natural antioxidants. Antioxidants help to break down bad cholesterol and prevent it from building up in your body. So including more of the following foods will increase your antioxidant intake: blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, cranberries, artichoke hearts, spinach, kale, cherries, pecans, walnuts, and dark chocolate (70% cacao or higher)
  • Get cardio exercise in at least 3 times per week. Cardio exercise is specifically physical activity which will focus on increasing your heart rate. Running, dance classes, various sports activities, and so forth all provide cardio. If your schedule or budget struggle to fit this in, then try starting with long walks that the whole family can be a part of. Starting with walks is a more achievable and accessible goal for those out there who might struggle with physical activity, and it is something that kids of all ages can engage with.
  • Talk to your doctor about health risks and family history. If your family has a history of heart disease, then you might be at an increased risk of having health complications later in life. The best way to combat these risks is to talk with your doctor about your history or concerns with your heart. If you might need preventative treatment, then your physician will be able to recommend the best course of action.

Making changes that will strengthen your heart can seem daunting at first but making them one at a time can make it easier. Try getting one extra day of exercise at first, then work your way up every month. For dietary changes, you can start with replacing one unhealthy food with a healthier one or having one night every week when you have a heart-conscious dinner, and then gradually start making more and more of your meals heart-health-forward.

Sometimes it seems like no matter what we do, there is still a risk of heart attacks. Sometimes, this is the case, but taking early action to strengthen your heart can make a big difference. Aside from just reducing your risk of cardiac arrest, a strong heart can also help your whole body stay stronger. From stronger lungs to stronger mind and muscles, your heart fuels it all.

In the case of any medical emergency, even heart-related ones, Wylie ER is here to help. Providing 24/7 emergency care for all ages is how the heart of our facility runs, and during this American Heart Month, we want to give your family the very best.

 Nutex Health, Inc supports you and your family’s health. You can depend on Wylie Emergency Room or any one of our concierge-level, freestanding emergency facilities to deliver the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.


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