Alright, readers, I am shameless to admit that I smoke, even after knowing that smoking is one of the main reasons for heart attack. Here is all bad effects of smoking listed in the article. I do want to quit sooner. Till I quit, I won’t keep other good stuff pending that will do good to my health. After smoking the second biggest enemy, for me, is lack of exercise, I don’t even spare 10 mins a week for exercises.
While going through some of the articles recently on health, I ran across one that talked about heart problems. The biggest four causes of a heart attack did apply to me. Smoking, lack of sleep, stress and no exercise. It was a wake up call. Since then, I made a list of things I should do to protect my dear heart. This article contains that list.
This is mostly directed towards men, although women do run a risk of heart problems but, they are not as susceptible as men. For men a heart attack can happen at any age. Recently I came to know about a young fellow who died of heart attack at 34. Fortunately, there were plenty of research work to find out certain activities that can reduce risk of heart attack.
There are enough information and research findings available on internet for you to find out. Out of those, here are two wonderful articles I found on my favorite site Men’s Health. New ways to protect heart and ways to protect heart. These articles are information rich and you don’t need to read anything else.
Now I want to write about my plan on doing things right. There were incidents of fatal heart attack in our family, although this is not hereditary, almost every man has some probability of getting a heart blockage. Saying that, here’s how I want to protect my heart.
First thing is checking my body up regularly. I do yearly checkups as part of my health plan. So far HDL (good Cholesterol) , LDL (bad Cholesterol) and Glucose levels are normal. Even my BMI is well under prescribed level. I need to take measures that’ll ensure these numbers are always under control.
Here are 21 Ways I can protect my heart.
- Quitting smoking – The number on and most difficult task at my hand. I may not have to emphasize much about the importance. Here’s a nice article that links smoking and heart disease.
- Not going to stress over stress – The truth is we need a good challenge all the time. Accepting the challenge and facing up to it will do your heart a lot of good. I work under stressful work environment. I make it a plan to avoid stress by by being more proactive and making more friends at work.
- I will be positive – Life will always have ups and downs. See life as half full rather than half empty. Smile a lot and always find a reason to be happy. I am fortunate to be born with a positive attitude. The first thing that comes to my mind is, ‘Yes’. I need to be more positive going forward as few people complained about my lack of enthusiasm at certain things recently.
- Working out – Unless you live in a place where there are more trees than cars it is best and safer to exercise indoors. I do stretch a bit between meetings and calls. But this is not enough. I may not be going to the gym but I can do at least 10 mins of physical activity each day. I can even do it at work.
- Weight lifting – I first need to buy one 20 lbs weight. I saw that according to a Harvard research, lifting weights 30 minutes a week is enough to reduce your risk of heart disease by 23 percent.
- Will play more – I was a regular soccer and cricket player until last year. Now due to various reasons, I stopped going out to ground. I need to start at least with Cricket now, that is my favorite sport. Any kind of exciting physical activity is actually good for heart.
- Boosting sex life – Time and again research has proven that good old loving holds a lot of benefits. Moreover it was found that men whose sex life with their significant other is active are less likely to suffer heart disease than those who aren’t getting it. hmm.. work to do here. I don’t want to say much otherwise I’d have to reveal personal details.
- Need to be happy – smile and happiness everyday may even be better than an apple a day. I want to be happy and avoid conflicts at home and at work. Men under stress are twice as likely to get a heart attack than a normal person.
- Need to make good friends – I need to make a few more good friends, my personal Facebook account has 520+ friends but what I need is really good friends who can be there for me always. I need to make friends at work where I spend almost 50 hours a week. .
- Being in a group – Extend your network of friends other than your office mates. We are fortunate to have a big group of friends with whom we hang around every-end and talk to often over phone. At work, I am fortunate to be one of the popular guys, I get company whenever I have some free time.
- Having enough sleep – After smoking and lack of exercise, this one is the third worrying factor for me. I rarely sleep for more than 6 hours, not even during the weekends. This is not enough, our body needs at least 7 hours of sleep everyday. People who lack sleep all the time are not only slower in mental acuity but is at risk of heart disease as well because, when your body gets tired it releases proteins that radically reduces blood flow. This means the supply of oxygen to vital organs becomes low.
- Doing something about my snoring – Snoring itself won’t cause heart problems. It is however an indication of underlying problems including the heart. The medical field has already taken leaps when it comes to dealing with snoring. I do snore and that’s the reason SMB sleeps in the other room sometimes. I am trying to find a way out.
- Controlling meds – Over the counter drugs for common ailments like headache or fever can do a lot of damage if you take more than you should. There is a reason for the warning “If symptoms persist consult your doctor.” Consult your doctor before you pop those health supplements too. I am again a rule breaker here, to pacify my migraine I do keep Excedrin with me. I may need to find other ways to control migraine or need to take only when there’s no alternative.
- Drinking tea – A substance called Flavonoids in the tea causes blood to thin and veins to improve. I will drink two cups of tea every day.
- Control Sodium – This is especially important to me as I take more than usual salt. SMB keeps on telling me that using raw salt is very dangerous. I need to put serious thoughts on it.
- Drink lots of water daily – I am already doing this one. I drink at least 10 glasses (of 8 Oz) of water everyday.
- Moderate Drinking – Alcohol when taken in moderation will do wonders. It raises good cholesterol levels and keeps the blood from thickening. This in turn reduces the danger of clots in the arteries.
- Walking – I walk a lot in office. But, when I come home I don’t actually leave my table and my room. At times SMB and I go out for a walk, we walk for about a mile or two.I need make this a habit and do it more often.
- Eating healthy – Nothing can beat a balanced diet. Thanks to SMB, who loves to cook, we rarely eat fast food. Although I don’t enjoy fish and red meat, I am all for eggs and veggies. I like to munch on fruits rather than donuts and chips. A healthy eating habit is not only good for the heart but also it keeps you looking good.
- Brushing teeth twice – It has been proven that oral bacteria are a risk factor for heart disease. Plus it will save your heart from being broken too. Who would want to kiss someone with bad breath? Well, seriously I have a cavity and I am very scared even when I think of a dentist. I need to fill that thing up as soon as possible. I should also start brushing my teeth at night, this is a serious lapse.
- Seeing doctor regularly – Nothing beats the evaluation of a professional. At the very least never skip that annual physical check up mandated by your company. My employer conducts this in the company facility there’s no chance I’d miss it.
Even after following all these regularly, I can not assume I am totally risk free. So, I’ll not take chance and will see the doctor even at a slight sign of a trouble. I suggest you do so as well.
Lastly some advice to you which I can’t implement, if there’s a room in your life, do fall in love, it makes your heart stronger. Love does wonder to our mind and that positively affects your physical body.
Even those scary movies and tense sporting events are good for your heart, contrary to usual belief that they tax our hearts and nerves. Those are kind of heart exercise.
Often my planning to do certain things failed due to lack of dedication towards it. I often tried setting goals, like 30 mins of stretching each week, but after a few weeks, I don’t really feel the urge to stretch any more. So, I need to find a way to stick to the above plan.
Planning and starting with the plan are the two easiest thing,s the main challenge lies in executing it consistently. I hope to continue above forever, let’s see what’s in store.
Readers, are you doing enough to make your heart – attack proof? If yes, what are you doing?
Canadian Budget Binder says
Great post! Just last year we quit smoking and are still smoke-free today. It was the best thing we have done for ourselves. We are both very active but knocking that habit was very important. Now we pretty much do everything in your list with a huge focus on eating healthy, less stress and plenty of physical activity.
That’s wonderful! Did you do a post about quitting? In fact I need all sorts of motivation before I quit.
[email protected] says
Glad to see careful awareness on prevention! Hindsight is 20/20, but prevention takes real guts. Good luck quitting smoking.
Yes Mike I need lot of good lucks for that
Ofelia B. Ewing says
Secondhand smoke contains many of the same harmful chemicals that people inhale when they smoke. Secondhand smoke can damage the hearts and blood vessels of people who don’t smoke in the same way that active smoking harms people who do smoke. Secondhand smoke greatly increases adults’ risk of heart attack and death.
Muralidharan Jayaram says
Everyone should take steps to protect their hearts. This is a great article, and I enjoyed reading it. Smoking is a big problem, and it is very detrimental to the heart. It is easy to quit smoking if you use a program that has a behavioral science approach combined with support of a medical doctor.
You have to take care of the withdrawal effects of nicotine with the help from a doctor and simultaneously program your mind to make that lifestyle change that will prevent you from smoking and keep it that way.