Monitor Your Blood Pressure
We all get our blood pressure taken by our doctors, but what does it actually measure? Blood pressure measures how hard your heart has to work to pump blood throughout your body. When your blood pressure is higher than it’s supposed to be, you have high blood pressure. The risks of high blood pressure include a higher risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. It can also affect other body parts, such as your kidneys, eyes, and brain. Unfortunately, you often will not feel as if anything is wrong if you have high blood pressure, which is why it is important to continue having regular checkups.
Watch Your Cholesterol
Your doctor will also tell you if you have high cholesterol. Total cholesterol is made up of HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. HDL cholesterol is the “good” kind of cholesterol, while LDL cholesterol clogs your arteries, and is known as the “bad” kind. If you have high cholesterol, your doctor means you have more LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, than HDL. While high cholesterol can increase your risk of stroke and heart attacks, there are plenty of ways to stay healthy. Talk to your doctor about improving your diet and incorporate exercise into your day.
Take Your Medications
It’s important to consistently take your medications exactly as your doctor prescribed. It is even more important if you have a history of stroke or heart attack, as these medications can help lower your risk for another one by keeping your cholesterol low, your blood flowing smoothly, and preventing plaque buildup in your blood vessels. If you have trouble remembering to take your medications every day, get a pillbox or download a medication reminder app on your smartphone to help you make it a routine.
Get a Full Night of Sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to keeping your heart healthy. If you don’t get enough sleep, you may be at a higher risk for heart disease. Make sleep a priority by setting yourself on a sleep schedule and try to get seven to eight hours of sleep most nights.
Questions about your heart health? Click here to schedule an appointment with one of our cardiologists.