Having A Healthy Heart

heart health Feb 06, 2024

February is heart month. Is your heart healthy? How do you know?

Elevated blood pressure predisposes individuals to cardiovascular disease and increased risk of cardiac events, including stroke and myocardial infarction. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of hypertension increases with age, with a rate of 22.4% among adults aged 18 to 39, a rate of 54.5% among those aged 40 to 59, and a rate of 74.5% among those aged 60 and older.

It has been shown that genetics, suboptimal dietary intake, and other factors, such as sedentary lifestyle and obesity are involved in primary or essential hypertension, In contrast, secondary hypertension is caused by other disease processes, including renal or endocrine pathophysiology.

Some individuals may unknowingly begin to trend toward hypertension without any overt symptoms before diagnosis. This highlights the importance of regular blood pressure monitoring. When present, symptoms may signify more severe hypertension, and include headache, fatigue, vision problems, chest pain and arrhythmia.

Here are the key numbers you need to know for healthy blood pressure:

Normal: Systolic - Less than 120 and Diastolic - Less than 80

High Blood Pressure (no other heart risk factors): Systolic - 140 or higher or Diastolic - 90 or higher

High Blood Pressure (with other heart risk factors, according to some providers): Systolic - 130 or higher or Diastolic - 80 or higher

Dangerously High Blood Pressure (seek medical care right away): Systolic - 180 or higher and Diastolic - 120 or higher

Nutrition and lifestyle intervention serve as important facets of care in preventing hypertension. It's important to sustain a healthy weight, increase physical activity, decrease stress and adopt a heart-healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet or dietary approaches to stop hypertension, also know as the DASH diet.

Some additional nutritional considerations include:

Use salt in moderation - replace table salt with Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salts that contain trace minerals.

Increase intake of magnesium and potassium-rich foods:

  • Spinach
  • Kale, Swiss chard
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Almonds
  • Beet greens
  • Quinoa
  • Black beans and lima beans
  • Tuna and salmon
  • Dark chocolate
  • Avocado

Don't let this month go by without taking extra special care of your heart.

Reach out to me if you would like a heart healthy meal plan that includes weekly shopping lists and heart healthy recipes.

Until next time...Take Care of You!

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