Being a dad is deeply rewarding. However, with children come sleepless nights, busy schedules, homework, stress and more, and that often leaves very little time to care for yourself and your heart.
No one wants to have their time with their family cut short, and yet, according to the American Heart Association, heart disease remains the No. 1 cause of death in the United States. Thankfully, there are things you can do to prevent it. The following tips could lower your risk of heart disease, effectively adding years to your life and your family's happiness.
Get a consultation
If you have a history of heart disease, or if you are concerned about your heart health, having a consultation with a cardiologist can be insightful as to what you can do to improve your heart health and prevent heart disease, states Cardiac Care Group.
Wondering what a heart consultation looks like? The first consultation often involves a physical examination, a review of patient records and medical history, and possible diagnostic testing. Your cardiologist will then help you understand the risks and prevention of heart disease. Meeting with a cardiologist, like the experts at Cardiac Care Group, is an invaluable resource in preparing for your health in the years ahead.
Get a stress test
Getting a stress test can be a great way to see how well your heart performs while under duress. There are several types of heart stress tests, but perhaps the two most well-known tests are the exercise stress test and the nuclear stress test.
An exercise stress test demonstrates the effect that exercise and physical activity have on the heart. Through monitoring your heart rate, breathing, blood pressure and how tired you feel, the American Heart Association states that a doctor can know how well your heart handles its workload and if there’s a lack of blood supply through the arteries that go to the heart. Taking a stress test also helps your doctor know the kind and level of physical activity that’s right for you.
A nuclear stress test, as outlined by Cardiac Care Group, shows how well blood flows into the heart when it is at rest versus during normal activity. This can show a doctor coronary artery disease, any irregularities in your heart's size and shape, and how better to treat any existing heart conditions.
Change your eating habits
Dads are awesome, but sometimes their eating habits and diets are not. The Mayo Clinic has many ideas for helping dads make heart-healthy dietary decisions that can help prevent heart disease.
Their suggestions include exercising portion control, choosing more fruits and vegetables and whole grains over white flour, limiting unhealthy fats, choosing low-fat protein sources and reducing sodium intake. This might mean drastic changes for many dads as this list doesn't include burgers, bacon or the nightly bowl of ice cream, but making those changes now could add years to your life.
Another change that might be necessary is implementing exercise in your daily routine.
In an article detailing heart-healthy activities for adults, the American Heart Association suggests adding one of the following:
- at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least five days per week
- at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least three days per week
- combination of moderate and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity and moderate-to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity at least two days per week
If lowering blood pressure and cholesterol is your goal then make sure to add an average 40 minutes of moderate-to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity 3 to 4 times per week.
While your life might be filled to the brim with work and family obligations, exercise is time you can't afford not to set aside each day. Again, your heart will thank you later.
If you are concerned about your heart health and want to get an expert to consult with, look no further than Cardiac Care Group.