Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States every year, according to the CDC. Unfortunately, there isn't any one thing that you can change to guarantee that you won't have a heart attack, but there are several ways that you can lower your risk. Check out these four simple ways to lower your risk of heart attack.
Smoking is a huge risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD). In fact, the risk of heart attack in smokers is double of that in nonsmokers. This is because the chemicals in tobacco smoke damage the function of your heart, harm your blood cells, and impair the function of your blood vessels. Over time, smoking causes plaque to build up in your arteries. The plaque hardens and narrows your arteries, restricting the amount of oxygen-rich blood to your heart, as well as other parts of your body.
Any amount of smoking can harm your heart, so to avoid having a heart attack, it's best to quit smoking altogether. Also, you should try your best to stay away from secondhand smoke, because breathing in secondhand smoke can raise your blood pressure and, over time, damage the tissue in your heart.
Cook with Olive Oil
Whenever possible cook with olive oil instead of butter or other oils. The monounsaturated, acid-rich oil helps lower your bad (LDL) cholesterol and increase your good (HDL) cholesterol. Plus, olive oil is rich in antioxidants, which could help reduce your risk of chronic diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease and cancer. You can substitute olive oil for butter or margarine, as well use it to replace vegetable oil when baking. If possible, purchase extra-virgin olive oil because it retains more antioxidants than other forms of olive oil.
Get Enough Rest
Getting enough sleep does more than recharge your brain and make you feel ready to face the day. When you're asleep your heart doesn't have to work as hard to pump blood to the rest of your body, so both your heart rate and your blood pressure decrease at night. When you're sleep deprived, your heart rate stays elevated in a similar way that it does when you're extremely stressed. Simply getting an extra hour of sleep each day can reduce the risk of your arteries becoming calcified, one cause of heart disease, by up to 33 percent. So, aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night, and if you feel tired, make time for a short nap. Not only will it help your heart stay healthy, but you'll feel less stressed.
If you want to lower your risk of heart attack, it's important that you develop heart-healthy habits. Take the time to learn how to eat healthier, make time to exercise each day, quit smoking, and make sure you get enough sleep so that you aren't considered at high risk for heart attacks. If you are concerned about the health of your heart, consider asking your doctor about cardiac care.