When it comes to the health of your heart, it’s important you’re taking care of it, yet, there are a lot of people making mistakes when it comes to their heart.
And making mistakes when it comes to your heart health can lead to much more serious health concerns. Here is a short list of 6 common mistakes people make when it comes to the health of their heart.
1. Ignoring Nitric Oxide
In a recent conference, Dr. Nathan Bryan from the Baylor College of Medicine and a leading expert in nitric oxide biochemistry and physiology said, “healthcare providers, especially those helping patients with cardiovascular issues and age-related disease, are not using perhaps the most important ‘tool’ in their ‘toolbox,’ restoring nitric oxide function.”
Nitric oxide is a key molecule the body makes to help regulate the blood vessels. This molecule ensures the blood vessels remain healthy and enable blood to flow in a healthy way. Without enough nitric oxide, our blood vessels become constricted and begin to stiffen. As we age, our nitric oxide production slows so it’s vital we’re paying attention to this important molecule.
Recommended: Learn more about nitric oxide here
With key amino acids found in L-arginine Plus®, it’s easy to restore healthy nitric oxide production to help support the health of the heart.
2. Skipping your annual physical
High blood pressure is a top risk factor for heart attack and stroke. Many adults who have it don’t know it, and everyone’s risk increases with age. “It has traditionally been called the ‘silent killer’ because it does not often have any clinically known symptoms,” says Carl Horton, MD, a cardiologist with the Texas Health Physicians Group in Dallas-Fort Worth. Even if you’re healthy or don’t have heart problems in your family history, make sure you don’t skip your annual physical where your doctor will check your blood pressure as well as look at other potential health issues that can affect your heart. (At the very least, regularly check your blood pressure at a pharmacy/store where they offer this service.)
3. Expecting your heart medication to balance out your diet
If you are taking a statin (cholesterol-lowering medication), it isn’t a free pass to eat whatever you want. In order for your statin to do its job, you still need to eat a heart-healthy diet centered around fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, fish, unsaturated fats, low sodium levels and moderate alcohol consumption.
4. Not getting enough sleep
If you are sleeping fewer than six hours per night, you have a 23 percent higher risk of heart disease compared to those who get seven to nine hours, according to findings published in the journal SLEEP. “Sleep deprivation sets off a cascade of hormones, which are pro-inflammatory and increase the risk of high blood pressure and obesity,” Carl Horton, MD, says. It can also slow your metabolism and drain your energy to exercise, therefore, making it harder to maintain a heart-healthy weight.
5. Not being active enough
If you’re already getting the recommended 30 minutes of daily exercise, give yourself a pat on the back. However, even among regular exercisers too much sedentary time increases the risk for heart disease according to research from the American Heart Association. Find some ways to sneak in some extra steps. For example, if you have been sitting too long watching TV or at your computer get up at least once per hour for at least 5 minutes and walk around your house, office or yard.
6. Ignoring stress
Tension can take a serious toll on your heart. Over time, stress not only raises your heart rate and blood pressure, but it can damage the walls of your arteries. “In general, I tell people to take 30 minutes a day to do something mindful. It could be yoga, meditation or prayer—whatever it takes to cast off the stresses that accumulate,” says Andrew M. Freeman, MD, cardiologist at National Jewish Health in Denver. Journaling or reading something inspirational can also be considered mindful if you are relaxed while doing it.
If you’ve been making any of the above mistakes, begin to take action today even if it means starting with just one of these. By making progress toward better heart health, you’re going to be making progress to better overall health.