Author: Hassan S. Makki, D.O., FACC
Heart disease prevention isn’t something that happens overnight. But making appropriate dietary and lifestyle changes – and sticking with them – has had a profound impact on many patients’ lives. This 28-day plan is designed to help patients gradually introduce healthy heart habits into their daily routine. It will take longer than four weeks to implement these changes, so don’t feel like you have to make a 180 in just four weeks!
Heart Disease Prevention: Week 1
- Write down your goals. Why do you want to prevent heart disease? So you can play with your grandkids? Take that big trip? Put your goals down on paper.
- Go for a walk. Start making this a habit. If you’re serious about heart disease prevention, I would strongly encourage you to get at least a half hour of moderate aerobic exercise in five days a week.
- Make a “heart healthy” dinner at home at least once this week. Try this recipe I posted last month, if you don’t already have one.
Heart Disease Prevention: Week 2
- Stress can wreak havoc on the heart. If you struggle with stress, take a few minutes this week to shop for a stress management book or sign up for a stress management class.
- Do you know your family medical history? Talk to your parents, siblings, and other relatives for more information. Many conditions, including heart disease, have hereditary factors. You may be at increased risk for heart attack or stroke if a parent or sibling had a heart attack before age 45 (males) or 55 (females).
Cardiovascular Disease Prevention: Week 3
- If you smoke, look into smoking cessation programs. Multiple studies have shown that smokers who attempt to quit using a physician-supervised smoking cessation program are more likely to succeed.
- Go ahead and schedule a wellness exam with your primary care provider for sometime in the next couple of weeks. Have your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol checked out. Tell your doctor that you’re trying to make changes to prevent cardiovascular disease.
- If you’re at-risk for heart attack or stroke, ask your doctor about taking baby aspirin daily for preventive purposes.
Cardiovascular Disease Prevention: Week 4
- If you’re overweight, talk to your doctor about what you can do to drop down to a healthy weight range.
- Familiarize yourself with the warning signs of heart attack and stroke.
- Lastly, stick with your new habits! Don’t try to do too much at once. If you struggled with something on this list, find a way to introduce the new habit or food gradually.
Have more questions about how to prevent heart disease? Schedule an appointment with a cardiologist at Phoenix Heart Center by calling 602-234-0004. Locations in Phoenix, East Mesa, and Tempe, AZ.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.