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March 2019

It’s Never Too Late to Protect Your Heart

Heart disease, the nation’s leading cause of death, takes the lives of about 610,000 Americans each year. Of course, you can’t change your age, family health history, gender, or race—factors that may boost your risk for this condition.

Salmon steaks on a plate

Fortunately, though, researchers keep discovering plenty of things you can do to lower your odds of developing heart disease. Take these latest findings to heart:

  1. An American Heart Association science advisory noted that women and men could reduce their risk of developing heart disease by 22% with dietary changes. The recipe for success: eating seafood at least 4 times a week. And if you don’t love seafood, try starting with just 2 seafood meals each week. Research shows that you can still significantly lower your risk for heart disease by substituting seafood for processed meat 2 times a week.

  2.  Having a regular sleep schedule might help your heart. This is the message of a study published in the journal Scientific Reports. Compared with those who slept and woke at the same times every day, people with irregular sleep patterns had a higher projected risk of developing heart disease in the next 10 years. They were also more likely to report depression and stress—2 risk factors linked to heart disease. This study observed 1,978 adults ages 45 to 84.

  3. A review in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology highlights that psychological well-being—such as positive thoughts, optimism, and happiness—is linked to a lower risk for heart disease. If you’d like to strengthen your psychological well-being, the authors recommend maintaining a strong network of social support and trying mind-body techniques such as mindfulness, deep-breathing exercises, yoga, and tai chi.

Online Medical Reviewer: Godsey, Cynthia, MSN, APRN, MSHE, FNP-BC
Date Last Reviewed: 2/1/2019
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