Adventist Health Portland | Living Well | Spring 2024

12 LIVING WELL Heart health In the kitchen, yard and beyond: Loop your family members in to fixing and eating nutritious foods. Reduce couch time and invest in physical activities. Through your family tree: Refresh your knowledge about your family health history. Tell your provider about any heart problems in your family so you can discuss preventive measures. In the stress zone: Over time, stress can increase heart rate and blood pressure. Learn ways to manage stress, including breathing techniques and making time for things you enjoy. On your calendar: Find a health care provider and have regular wellness exams and heart health screenings, like blood pressure, cholesterol and body mass index checks. In your lungs: Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. If you started smoking as a teen, stop now so you can maximize the benefits. If you’ve never smoked, don’t be tempted to try. In (and out of) the gym: Be active and stay active. It’s easier if you start at a young age. HEART-SMART TIPS FOR THE MOST PART, OUR HEARTS JUST HUM ALONG. Even under extra stress or physical demand, they simply work harder. Hearts are so dependable, in fact, they’re easy to ignore. Meanwhile, arteries can harden or narrow. Blockages may form. Heart disease can creep in. You may not even notice unless something major happens, like a heart attack. Never too early or late There’s great news, though. For most people, heart disease is preventable. “Healthy hearts depend on healthy choices,” says Hoang Nguyen, MD, a cardiologist with Northwest Regional Heart & Vascular. “No matter what your age or stage is in life, you can take proactive steps to help protect your heart. It’s never too early or too late.” 30s 20s All ages On your plate: Load up on plants — fruits and veggies, nuts, legumes and seeds, and fiber-rich whole grains. Limit sugary drinks and red meat. If you decide to eat meat, choose the leanest cuts possible. In your mind: Learn the warning signs of heart attack and stroke, including differences between women and men. In your shoes: Live an active lifestyle with at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity activity, like brisk walking, each week. for Every Age