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8 Ways To Reduce Your Risk Of Having a Heart Attack

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8 Ways To Reduce Your Risk Of Having a Heart Attack

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    It may surprise you to know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men as well as women. About 250,000 American men, and about the same number of American women, die from this disease every year. A heart attack can strike without you even knowing that you have heart disease, so reduce your risk of having a heart attack by practicing these eight healthy habits.

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    1. Don’t start smoking, and if you already do, stop. The unhealthy habit of puffing on cigarettes damages body organs, and the heart is one of them. Smoking also causes plaque buildup and narrowing of the arteries, which causes coronary heart disease, or CHD. It contributes to peripheral artery disease, or PAD, as well. CHD and PAD raise your risk for a heart attack.
    1. Monitor your blood pressure because high blood pressure, or hypertension, can raise your risk for heart disease and lead to a heart attack. Take special care to keep your blood pressure low if you are overweight. If hypertension runs in your family, watch your blood pressure. Also, avoid eating too much salt. Take medication if your blood pressure is high and you cannot lower it on your own. Normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg.
    1. Eat for the health of your heart. Consume leafy greens and fruits, low-fat meat and poultry, nuts and seeds, soybeans, beans, and healthy oils like olive oil, corn oil, safflower oil, and canola oil. Stay away from foods that contain saturated fat, trans fat, and a lot of carbohydrates and sugar. Develop a low carb meal plan to prevent diabetes, since diabetes raises the risk for a heart attack. Also avoid drinking too much alcohol.
    1. Tame your anger. Anger is a major cause of stress, and stress brought about by anger has been known to cause heart attacks. Sometimes people resort to consuming an abundance of food, alcohol, or cigarettes to combat stress. Since all of these actions contribute to heart disease, it’s obvious that stress should be avoided at all costs. To reduce your stress level, exercise, engage in relaxing therapies, and cultivate strong relationships.
    1. Stay active to reduce your risk of having a heart attack. Keep moving to keep blood pressure and cholesterol low too. Regular exercise can also protect you from diabetes, and being active on a regular basis will help keep your weight under control.
    1. Lose weight if you are obese. Excess body fat raises your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. A body mass index that ranges from 18.5 to 24.9 is desirable, and you can check yours using a BMI calculator. You can also check to see if you are overweight by measuring the size of your waist. Women who have a waist that exceeds 35 inches are considered overweight. Overweight men have a waist that exceeds 40 inches.
    1. Eat heart healthy when dining out. When you are not the one preparing the food you eat, you don’t know if your food is heart healthy or not. To find out what’s in the dish you are ordering and about to consume, simply ask your waitress. If it is a dish that is made with a lot of butter, which is high in saturated fat, order something else.
    1. Keep bad cholesterol at bay to prevent a buildup of plaque in the arteries that can cause a heart attack. Read all the labels on the foods you eat to see how much cholesterol these foods contain. Make sure your cholesterol level is below 200 mg/dL. If it is higher than that, talk to your doctor about lowering it.

    These eight simple steps can save your life. They are easy to follow and worth the effort. Don’t wait to start practicing these heart-friendly habits.

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    Last Updated on November 22, 2021

    Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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    Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

    Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

    During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

    But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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    Simplify

    I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

    Absolutely.

    And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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    If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

    • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
    • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
    • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

    Be Mindful

    You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

    Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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    Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

    Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

    Reflect

    As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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    Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

    But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

    So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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    Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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