Everyday habits for a healthy heart

Heart Health Month may be done, but here are some tips that can help all year-round.

  • Monday, February 25, 2019 8:30am
  • Life
Ameet Parikh. Photo courtesy of Pacific Medical Centers

Ameet Parikh. Photo courtesy of Pacific Medical Centers

By Ameet Parikh

Pacific Medical Centers

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While we bring attention to heart health nationwide every February, everyday habits can lead to a healthier heart year-round. It’s important that Americans not only take advantage of quality health care, but also take steps to control their blood pressure and strengthen their hearts.

Here are a few actions everyone can take:

Eat healthy: Diet is a key factor to overall heart health. While it’s ok to indulge every now and then, whole grains, fruits and vegetables should make up the bulk of your meals to ensure you’re receiving the appropriate vitamins and minerals. Generally, it’s best to avoid or minimize refined grain products (such as white bread, pasta and pastries), unhealthy fats like saturated and trans fats, and sodium. Tips to help with this include swapping for monounsaturated fats or polyunsaturated fats like olive, fish, avocado, nut, and seed oils; eating freshly prepared foods, as restaurants tend to have a heavy hand with the salt shaker; and controlling portion sizes, using a small plate or bowl to avoid the temptation to overeat.

Exercise: The American Heart Association recommends a total of 150 minutes of exercise per week, including muscle-building activities like resistance or weight training at least two days per week. Although many of us are tied to desks day after day, it’s important to remember that any amount of exercise is better than none. If you spend most of your day sitting, set a timer a few times a day to remind yourself to get up and move. This can be as simple as a walk around the office or neighborhood, or even a few stretches on the floor. A quick consultation with your primary care provider can help craft an exercise routine best for you.

Sleep: A lack of sleep can lead to a number of long-term health issues, including an increased risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart disease. It’s vital to try and achieve at least eight hours of sleep per night. Establishing a sleep schedule, getting regular exercise and avoiding caffeine and alcohol late in the day can help you get more hours at night.

Stop smoking: Tobacco and nicotine in all forms are dangerous for overall cardiovascular health and should be avoided entirely. Even one cigarette a day can be detrimental to your health, as can e-cigarettes. The good news is that it’s never too late to stop and your doctor can provide tips and resources to help you along the way.

While Heart Health Month is over, you can still celebrate with a visit with your primary care provider or cardiologist to review your medical history, check your cholesterol and blood sugar levels and determine your risk. I encourage everyone to be informed, take control of their health and make lifestyle changes for a strong and healthy heart for years to come.

Dr. Ameet Parikh is a cardiologist at Pacific Medical Centers in Totem Lake in Kirkland and Canyon Park in Bothell. For more information, visit Pacmed.org.

More in Life

Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo 
                                Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2995 club manager Rob Bailey and lifetime auxiliary member of Post 5694 and guest of the VFW Post 2995 Cecilia Maers with the donated AED and cabinet.
Redmond VFW Post 2995 receives donated AED and cabinet

AED will benefit the post and surrounding businesses.

Redmond’s Singla achieves top ACT score

He said practice tests and AP courses helped prepare him.

King County Executive Dow Constantine visits Redmond Rotary Club to talk about the region’s most pressing issues on March 7. Photo courtesy of King County
King County Executive Constantine visits Redmond Rotary Club

Constantine talks transportation, conservation and homelessness.

“Your Mind Flashlight: A User’s Guide” helps kids and adults understand the connection between thoughts and feelings. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Lambert.
Local mom writes guide to help kids control negative thoughts

Stephanie Lambert writes “Your Mind Flashlight: A User’s Guide” to help kids navigate negative thoughts, low self-esteem, anxiety.

Semilla Flamenco students opened the show for the famous Karen Lugo on Feb. 22 at the Bellevue Performing Arts Center. Photo courtesy of Bibiana Ruiz.
Redmond’s Semilla Flamenca students open the show for Flamenco star Karen Lugo

Karen Lugo is an internationally awarded dancer and choreographer

The Northwest’s largest free color festival will be held in Redmond on Saturday, March 23 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Marymoor Park. Photo courtesy of Creative Flashes Photography.
Northwest’s largest free Festival of Color to be held in Redmond

Traditional Holi festival of India to be held on March 23.

Everyday habits for a healthy heart

Heart Health Month may be done, but here are some tips that can help all year-round.

Help with heating bills available through Hopelink

The organization’s energy assistance program is fully funded in 2019.

Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo 
                                Rep. Suzan DelBene helped students with their hands-on science experiments on Feb. 20.
Rep. DelBene co-teaches at Stella Schola in Redmond

The congresswoman co-taught an eighth-grade science class with teacher Brigitte Tennis.

The Discobotz team members (Parent Coach, Senthil Selvaraj; Organizing LWSD Teacher, Jason Steele): Sarvesh Senthil (eighth grade), Harini Vijeyanandh (eighth grade), Arjun Cheema (eighth grade) and Varun Senthil (seventh grade). Courtesy photo.
Evergreen Middle School robotics team to compete in world championship

The Discobotz have a few more tournaments left, including the state tournament in Ellensburg on Feb. 23.

AAA holds driver improvement class at Redmond Senior Center on March 6

The schedule was rescheduled from its February date due to snowy weather.

Despite ‘wait-and-see’ approach from Feds on interest rates, real estate ticking onward

Though the feds are in a wait-and-see mood there are benefits to buying and/or selling now versus waiting.