Health Tips to reduce risk of Heart Burn
Control your weight
One of the most important things you can do if you have diabetes is maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight, talk to a registered dietitian about healthy ways to lose weight.
Keep your blood pressure under control
Since high blood pressure increases the risk of coronary artery disease and stroke, it's good to keep yours in the optimum range: less than 120/80. If you test 120-139/80-89, you have prehypertension and you should make arrangements to see your doctor right away, to discuss lifestyle changes you can make to bring down your reading. If you have high blood pressure, meaning 140/90 or more, your doctor will likely prescribe medication to keep it in check.
Load up on heart-friendly foods.
For most people, the battle against heart disease should start in the kitchen. By getting about 30 percent of your calories from fat (less than 7 percent from saturated fats), eating five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables every day, and eating plenty of whole grains, you can lower your cholesterol level, protect your arteries, and slash your risk for a heart attack. Some types of fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, may help lower triglycerides and provide other benefits. Talk to your doctor about how to increase your intake of good fats while cutting down on the "bad" fats.
Cigarettes damage the arteries and speed the buildup of cholesterol and plaque, the first step toward a heart attack. In the Nurses' Health Study, just one to 14 cigarettes per day tripled the risk of heart trouble. Other studies have found that smoking at least 25 cigarettes a day may raise the risk 15 times as much. If you're a smoker, quitting RIGHT NOW is the best thing you can do for your heart. Within two years, the threat of the heart attack will drop to the level of a person who has never smoked.
Monitor your cholesterol.
Since too much cholesterol contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries, it's best to keep your total cholesterol level below 200 milligrams per deciliter. Anything between 200 and 240 mg/dL is considered worrisome, and a level over 240 is often a serious threat. The basic goal is also to keep your "good" HDL cholesterol high and your "bad" LDL cholesterol level low.
Make exercise a daily habit.
The lack of exercise is contributing to the obesity epidemic in Americans. Studies indicate that walking two miles a day is optimal for overall health, and those two miles of walking do not have to be done all at once. Exercise does more than burn calories; it also activates genes that are beneficial to health in other ways. Plus, exercise is one of the best treatments for depression and anxiety. However, exercise alone cannot control or reduce your weight – you must also modify your diet.
If you're under too much stress or feeling depressed, seek out help from a psychologist or therapist.
Emotional distress is hard on the heart, and professional help can be a true lifesaver. Several studies suggest that depressed people who are otherwise healthy are more likely to develop heart disease than peers who aren't depressed. For example, a 13-year study of 1,500 subjects conducted at Johns Hopkins University found that an episode of depression increased the risk of heart attack more than fourfold. These studies take smoking and other factors into account, providing strong evidence that depression alone may be enough to cut down a once-healthy heart.
Use your common sense
Talk with your physician about the most important steps you need to take to protect your heart. The American Heart Association recommends a checkup every two years, ideally starting at age 20, where your doctor can measure your blood pressure, body mass index, waist circumference, and pulse. Depending on your particular situation, you should have your cholesterol and glucose tested at least every 5 years. Ask you doctor if you should check it more frequently. If you're 40 or over, the AHA suggests that your doctor measure your risk factors and then calculate your chances of developing cardiovascular disease within the next 10 years. It's also important to seek professional help if you're taking steps that involve some risk (such as beginning an exercise program in middle age) or that are tough to do on your own (like quitting cigarettes).
There are no magic bullets to heart health, so it's good to be wary of those who say there are. Beware of the spectacular claims found on some "health" sites on the Internet: Anyone can post an opinion or claim there without offering proof or documentation. If it's sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Stay informed: Science changes constantly.
The only constant is change. This is especially true in medicine as new techniques and new insights develop constantly. Do not believe every piece of “scientific information” you find in the media or advertisements. An overwhelming number of research studies that make it into scientific publications are poorly designed or yield data that are not representative, e.g., due to a lack of a sufficient number of participants. Keep in mind that many studies are financed or sponsored by individuals or companies with a vested interest in gaining favorable results. The situation can be especially confusing when scientific studies yield different or even contradicting results, and this happens quite often.