What is a Healthy Heart?

Not all cancer survivors have heart conditions but some cancer treatments can result in heart problems. It is important to monitor cancer survivors as heart problems tend to occur even after years of treatment. The best way to keep their hearts healthy is by going in for regular medical check-ups and tests to monitor their heart functioning. If there arise any problems they can be easily detected and treated at the earliest. 

A Healthy Heart

This organ is located in the center of the body’s circulatory system, it is responsible for pumping blood with oxygen and nutrients throughout the tissues of the body. We might have not put too much thought into it, but our heart works continuously throughout the day. It is one of the most important muscles in your body that carries the necessary amount of oxygen and nutrient supplies throughout the body. When the required care is not given to your heart, there can arise problems that lead to heart attacks and blockage of the flow of blood. 

One should keep in mind that all the activities that they undertake on a day-to-day basis, directly or indirectly have an effect on the heart. 

One of the main causes of heart risk is the increased presence of cholesterol in the body. Cholesterol in the right amounts is good but too much of it can cause unnecessary risks. This waxy substance is produced by the body as well as absorbed from the food that we take. It helps in the production of Vitamin D and certain hormones such as estrogen in women and testosterone in men and it also helps with digestion. 

How can I take care of my heart?

Some of the steps given below will set you off on a journey toward healthy living, thereby a healthy heart,

  • Going for regular check-ups is necessary: Make sure to go for a check-up at least once a year to make sure that you have not developed heart disease and in case you have any existing conditions and that you are in control of the already existing ones. 
  • Always keep a check on your blood pressure and your cholesterol levels: this can be easily kept up with when you go in for regular visits to your doctor. If you wish to do it at home, there are blood pressure devices available in a pharmacy. 
  • Diabetes management: if you have this condition make sure you are keeping a check on your blood sugar levels, eating properly, and exercising regularly. 
  • Take your medications at the right time every day: if you have been prescribed medication for cholesterol, diabetes, or increased pressure, continue to take them as per the instructions of your doctor. In case you experience unpleasant side effects, talk to your doctor and get an alternative medication that has minimal side effects.

Foods that can help you maintain a healthy heart

To improve the health of your heart you need not be dramatic and cut down on everything that you love. Rather, it is a step-by-step process once you start to manage your food and lifestyle changes, there will be a significant improvement in your weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol too. Making small changes can be easier to stick to in the long term.

Remember to include all the necessary nutrients in your diet. Given below are some guidelines that you may like to know when you are following a formal diet. The following healthy principles should be compulsorily added to your diet. 

  • Make sure you intake only a limited amount of calories. Do not cut out on entire groups of food and starve yourself. A single portion of packaged, balanced, calorie-controlled meal would be the best option to be taken into consideration. 
  • The serving size should be appropriate, if you have difficulty doing so, get yourself a serving scale to measure the right amount of food for you until you learn to do so on your own. 
  • Avoid excessive consumption of red meat, sugary foods, and drinks( you can try no-calorie sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame, and stevia instead of sugar), avoid taking trans fat, and switch to healthier oils and sprays like olive or canola. Do not take more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, less than that is also good so that you do not max out on your blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about the use of alternative salt substitutes. Avoid taking too much canned or processed foods.
  • It is highly recommended that your diet should consist of bananas, raisins, and oranges. A healthy intake of fruits and vegetables, especially those that are rich in potassium is highly recommended. Make sure to include whole grains and low-fat dairy. Take your fish and lean meats without skin or added fats. 
  • Taking a good amount of fiber has shown to lower the risk of heart diseases, and diabetes, as well as reduce the blood pressure, lower the levels of bad cholesterol, and blood sugar levels, and helps in healthy weight management. The ideal intake would be 20-30 gms a day and the best way to get them is by taking whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans. If your requirements are not met through food, having a fiber supplement can help. Talk to your doctor about which is the right one to choose from for you. 

Do taking supplements help improve my heart health?

The omega-3 fatty acids found excessively in fish are known to help lower your blood pressure levels and triglycerides, and reduce your risk of experiencing heart diseases. The best way to include omega-3 fatty acids is through food intake. Try eating fatty fish like mackerel, salmon, and trout at least twice a week.

If the omega-3 fatty acid from food is not sufficient, talk to your doctor and take supplements that may help you. If you have high-risk heart diseases or high triglycerides, you need to talk to your doctor first. When taking prescription omega-3s you may need quite larger doses. 

Never take high doses of omega-3 fatty acids unless your doctor tells you to do so. Excessive intake can cause bleeding in some people. If you already have a bleeding condition, it can increase them as in blood thinners or pain relievers. Talk to your doctor before you start taking them. 

Can I take aspirin to protect my heart?

If you have a high risk of heart disease or have had a history of heart attacks, taking a low dose of aspirin can help you prevent the risk of heart attacks. Aspirin is known to thin the blood thus preventing clots from forming. But it is mandatory to get a consultation with your doctor before you start taking them, 

Aspirin is not recommended if you 

  • Are to undergo any medical or dental surgeries or procedures
  • Are allergic to aspirin’s components
  • Drinking alcohol every day
  • Have high risks of intestinal bleeding or a hemorrhagic stroke

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