How to live in your 30s to prevent heart disease

May 28, 2019 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Hearts

It’s never too early to take steps to help prevent heart disease.

Heart disease remains the top cause of death for both men and women. As you enter your 30s, your life can change in big ways that prompt you to focus on your health.

“It’s a game changer once you have kids,” says Ann Davis, M.D., an independent cardiologist on the medical staff of Edward Hospital. “You want to make sure you are around long enough to take care of them and help them.”

There are some easy things you can do that not only will help prevent heart disease, but will also improve your overall health:

  • Be physically active. “You don’t have to do a marathon,” Davis says. “Every little bit of exercise helps.” Aim for 30 minutes a day, even if it’s split up into two 15-minute sessions. Get your family involved to help encourage healthy habits in your children. Try going for walks after dinner or shooting some hoops with the kids.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Choose foods low in saturated fat, trans fat and sodium, and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Limit sugary snacks and beverages, and be sure to include fish and lean meat in your diet.
  • Get enough sleep. Face it, you aren’t in your 20s anymore. Those late nights affect you a little differently than before. Treat yourself well and get enough sleep (7-9 hours). Regular restful sleep helps prevent obesity, can help control blood sugar and helps control blood pressure.
  • Know your family history. If heart disease runs in your family, know your heart-healthy numbers — including goals for cholesterol and blood pressure — and talk to your doctor about them.
  • Floss. Your teeth and your heart will thank you. Flossing helps eliminate bacteria in your gums that, if left alone, can travel through the blood stream and, when it reaches the heart, can attach to a damaged area and cause inflammation. Conditions such as clogged arteries and stroke have been linked to the inflammation caused by oral bacteria.

If you’re making changes to eat healthier or add exercise into your routine, Dr. Davis suggests focusing on a few steps at a time.

“It takes several weeks to get in a habit; don’t try to it all or none,” she says. “Make a couple of small changes and then build on that. Everything takes planning. You can’t get healthy by falling off a log. It takes planning, thought and active choices.”

Dr. Davis also suggests taking measures to help bring enjoyment to your life.

“Practice gratitude and kindness,” she says. “Travel if you can. Try something that’s different and go places with your family, even if it’s going to Chicago to try an Ethiopian restaurant. Live your life to be happy.”

At Edward-Elmhurst Health, you have access to the latest advancements for diagnosing and treating heart and vascular disease. Learn more about our heart and vascular services.

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What is your heart age?
Make over your space; create a heart-healthy environment
What your body shape (apple, pear, carrot) means for your health

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