Posted on by Village Green Nutrition Team
Do you know if your heart is in good condition? Problems don’t always come with clear-cut warning signs, like a startling chest clutch followed by a fall to the floor.
If you aren’t sure about your heart’s health, you should get checked out – especially if you have risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and/or high cholesterol. People who have a condition or are experiencing symptoms associated with heart disease should monitor themselves closely and seek medical attention when needed.
This guide will walk you through the reasons to focus on your heart health, warning signs that something may be wrong, and three ways to check if your ticker is in good condition.
Why Should I Care About Heart Health?
A well-working cardiovascular system is one of the most significant avenues to achieving overall excellent physical health. A healthy lifestyle can increase your lifespan and decrease the risk of heart disease, stroke, heart attack, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and more.
Steps you can take to improve your cardiovascular health include:
- Eating a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables and grains
- Exercising regularly
- Avoiding harmful habits, such as smoking or excessive drinking
The cardiovascular system is connected to many of the body’s functions and systems, so focusing on its health leads to a lowered risk of other serious health conditions.
Is My Heart Healthy?
There are several warning signs that may indicate that you should keep an eye on your cardiovascular health. Here are the most common signs of an unhealthy heart:
Chest Pain or Discomfort
One of the most common signs that you have a problem is chest pain. This could feel like an ache, a shooting pain, tightness or pressure. Discomfort also may occur, which can feel similar to heartburn.
Pain in Your Body’s Left Side
A frequent heart attack symptom is pain that is felt throughout the left side of your body. This could include intense pain in your jaw or pain that radiates down your left arm.
Shortness of Breath
The feeling of being unable to catch your breath when you have not exerted yourself physically could be a warning sign of a bigger issue.
Dizziness or Lightheadedness
A dizzy or lightheaded feeling, especially when accompanied by chest pain or shortness of breath, is another sign of a heart problem that needs medical attention right away.
Unusual or severe snoring can be associated with sleep apnea. This is when you stop breathing for short periods of time while sleeping. Sleep apnea can put a lot of pressure on the heart and can lead to severe issues.
It’s normal for your heart to race when you’re nervous or excited, but if you feel like it beats out of sequence when you’re calm, tell your doctor. In some cases, it could be an easy fix that involves cutting out caffeine or getting more sleep. Occasionally, however, it might be something that requires treatment, such as atrial fibrillation.
Some of these symptoms on their own may not be heart-related at all. They may instead be signs of asthma, anxiety, vertigo, or even indigestion. These things may or may not be something you need to worry about. If they are experienced at the same time or occur frequently, however, it’s best to talk to a doctor.
3 Ways to Check Your Heart’s Health
There are a few different ways to monitor cardiac health, and some can be done outside of a doctor’s office. Here are three fairly simple ways to check your heart, though some do require a doctor’s visit.
1. Heart Rate
Rate and rhythm can tell you a lot about your heart. Doctors listen to your pulse when you go in for a visit to assess how fast it is beating and if the beats are regular.
You can measure your pulse at home by counting the number of beats in 10 seconds and multiplying that number by six. This gives you the number of beats per minute. A normal pulse will vary from person to person, but generally, a resting heart rate from 60 to 100 is considered normal. Always talk to your doctor to find out if yours is regular.
2. Blood Pressure
Checking your blood pressure is a standard procedure in the doctor’s office. Many pharmacies also have blood pressure machines for self-checks.
There are two components to your blood pressure reading: systolic, which measures the pressure of your arteries as the heart squeezes, and diastolic, which measures the pressure between beats. Normal systolic blood pressure is under 120, and normal diastolic is under 80. High blood pressure is considered to be 130/80 or higher.
3. Blood Test
A blood test tells a lot about your health, but this is not a test you can do at home. Doctors order blood tests to check cholesterol levels because high cholesterol could lead to serious cardiovascular problems. Blood tests can also check your blood sugar and other inflammatory markers, as well as levels of sodium, potassium, albumin, and creatinine, which can sometimes signal heart issues if they are not where they should be.
It’s always important to talk to your doctor about your results and what they could mean about your heart’s health and functionality, even though some checks can be performed on your own. The cardiovascular system is complex, so remember that certain isolated symptoms may not mean that you have an issue.
Supplements for Heart Health
One way to focus on your health is to take the supportive daily supplements. The following supplements may help you improve your cardiovascular system:
- Cardio Support – This combines many heart-healthy nutrients, including folic acid, vitamins B-12 and B6, and green tea extract. Folic acid, vitamin B-12, and B-6 regulate healthy blood homocysteine levels. Green tea extract contains the potent antioxidant, EGCG, as well as L-carnitine, which helps produce energy for cardio health.
- Alpha Lipoic Acid – This antioxidant helps the body to trap different free radicals and helps you metabolize fats and carbs into energy.
- Blood Pressure Support – This comprehensive blend supplies nutrient support for healthy blood pressure. Hawthorn is included for its studied benefits for healthy circulation and magnesium and hops aid in the relaxation of the central nervous system.
- Coenzyme Q10 – CoQ10 is a quinone found in each of the body’s cells and supports cardiovascular health. For those who take cholesterol medications, it is recommended to supplement with CoQ10.
Taking supplements such as these, along with a balanced lifestyle, can offer you great support. If you’re not sure which supplements would be best for your situation, contact Village Green Apothecary to speak with an expert regarding questions about supplementation.
Your Go-To for Heart-Healthy Supplements
The supplements listed above are available at Village Green, and our nutritionists and pharmacists can help determine the right options for you. We also offer health and wellness consultations, nutritional products, specialized testing, and more.
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