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Easy Ways to Boost Heart Health

By Stepy Kamei

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, making it a primary concern for all of us, as any healthcare provider will tell you. Much of the problem lies in our adopting negative habits, from poor eating to living largely sedentary lifestyles, which only serve to make our collective heart health worse. Far too many of us are at risk for developing cardiovascular disease, which is why it's always a good idea to start taking steps now to make heart health a priority. 

Be Informed: What's Normal

If you want to know how to spot signs of trouble when it comes to your heart health, you're going to need to know what's normal as well. First, some basic information: The average person experiences a resting heart rate within the range of 60-100 beats per minute. You can get a pulse reading at your next checkup, or you can take your pulse yourself. Simply place two fingers on the inside of your wrist, elbow, or neck (wherever is easiest to find a pulse) and count how many beats occur in a 15-second timeframe. Multiply your answer by four for an accurate pulse reading. Perform these checks once a week or month, depending on the state of your heart health, so you can gauge an average reading. This way if you ever experience an abnormal pulse reading, you'll know you should see a doctor. A low heart rate can be a sign that you're simply very athletic, but you'll want to check it out anyway. Alternatively, a heart rate which is too fast can be a sign of many potential health concerns, such as panic disorder, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol levels. 

Get Rid of Unhealthy Habits

When it comes down to it, there are certain things you're going to need to cut out of your lifestyle if you want to really make sure your heart is healthy. Smoking is, unsurprisingly, one of the worst things you can do to your body as it can make your risk of developing cardiovascular disease significantly higher. Eating unhealthy junk foods and living a largely sedentary lifestyle are a few more unhealthy habits you should work toward cleaning up right away. Packaged and processed foods tend to be high in sugar, fat, and sodium content, which can increase inflammation in the body, so cut these out. Inflammation is an indicator for heart problems. Combine this with not getting enough exercise, and your heart may be in big trouble.

Try to go for daily walks, take the stairs more often, and hit the gym if you can. Simply improving your activity levels, as well as eating healthy, can make a big difference in improving heart health. 

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