Heart and Vascular

Your Overall Health: The Key to a Strong Heart

Feb 27 2024

Beyond diet and exercise, your overall health plays a significant role in your heart’s well-being.

Jeffrey Senfield, MD, discusses the surprising connections between various aspects of your health and your heart’s health.

The interconnected system

Think of your body as a network, where your heart acts as the central hub. Because it is at the center, it interacts with your blood vessels, lungs and other organs like a well-oiled machine.

“However, chronic conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity disrupt this harmony, putting extra strain on your heart and increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke,” Dr. Senfield explains.

So, maintaining a healthy weight through regular physical activity and a balanced diet form the foundation of good overall health. But there’s more to the story.

The mind-heart connection

Your mental health also significantly impacts your heart. Chronic stress, anxiety and depression can negatively influence its function. Stress hormones temporarily raise your heart rate and blood pressure, and prolonged stress can lead to inflammation in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease. Additionally, mental health challenges may sometimes lead to unhealthy habits, like smoking or overeating, further impacting your heart health.

A holistic approach to heart health

Taking care of your heart requires a comprehensive approach. Managing stress through activities like meditation, spending time outdoors or engaging in enjoyable hobbies can calm your mind and improve your emotional well-being. Building a supportive network of friends, family or a therapist can provide invaluable emotional support. And remember, prioritizing adequate sleep allows your body to rest and recover, contributing to overall health.

Empowering your choices

While some factors, like genetics, are outside your control, your daily choices significantly impact your heart health. Every decision you make, from your diet to stress management, contributes to your overall well-being.

Dr. Senfield shares the following actionable steps you can take:

  • Fuel your body with nutritious choices: Explore recipes rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein to nourish your heart.
  • Move your body regularly: Find activities you enjoy, whether it’s brisk walking, swimming or dancing.
  • Manage stress effectively: Try deep breathing exercises, yoga or mindfulness meditation to manage stress.
  • Build a strong support system: Surround yourself with supportive and encouraging individuals.
  • Be aware of warning signs: Chest pain, shortness of breath or unusual fatigue can be signs of underlying heart issues. Seek medical attention if you are experiencing these symptoms.

Remember, taking a holistic approach to your health empowers you to be the conductor of your well-being and ensure your heart beats strong and healthy for years to come!

Want to learn more about your heart health? Take our online heart risk assessment today.

Also, learn about the heart and vascular care services we provide at Bon Secours.

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