Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy in 2023

By Ronald Grifka, University of Michigan Health-West
Edited by Lawndale Bilingual News

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - HealthThe recent cardiac arrest of the Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin during a Monday Night Football game coincides with the beginning of American Heart Month, and the annual February focus on cardiovascular health. Focus is needed for any health plan to be a success, but executing that plan poses a distinct challenge. With many new research studies, medications, supplements and therapies available, formulating a health plan that most adults can maintain throughout the year can be confusing. Here are five tips that should be both sustainable and successful.

Diet and exercise
The familiar trope ― more exercise, healthier diet ― remains the best place to start. The benefits to your heart of a healthy diet and exercise can fill a library of books. The typical American diet is riddled with too many calories, excessive carbohydrates, and the wrong type of fats. An unhealthy diet can lead to numerous health problems including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attacks, strokes and cancer, just to name a few. Billions of dollars are spent on these health problems caused by an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise. Without making changes, an unhealthy lifestyle can rob us from months and years of great life with our family and friends.

Quit smoking
The U.S. has done an amazing job to decrease cigarette smoking. The detrimental health effects of smoking are profound, well-documented, and affect every system in the body. In the last few years, however, vaping and legalized recreational marijuana use have eroded our progress. Heart attacks are among the many side effects of smoking, which also include oral cancers, lung cancers, strokes and COPD (emphysema). Chemicals used in popular vape flavors like clove, mint and vanilla can harm blood vessel cells that help keep the heart healthy. Make 2023 the year to not light up or vape.

One additional concern to mention: we all need 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. This might mean turning off the TV, not surfing the internet as long, or putting down our video games.  Studies show short sleep duration or poor sleep quality is associated with high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and atherosclerosis. Habitual short sleep increases the chance of cardiovascular events. Sleep also keeps us alert and attentive for the following day. Get a good night’s sleep, so the following day is yours to conquer!

Ronald G. Grifka, MD, FAAP, FACC, FSCAI is the Chief Medical Officer of University of Michigan Health-West, and Cardiologist at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital

Comments are closed.