An estimated 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events can be prevented through action and education. You’re never too old—or too young—to take steps toward a healthier heart.
Virginia Mason Franciscan Health is dedicated to your heart health. From helping you prevent conditions before they start to offering you support and education after your treatment, we will be with you every step of the journey to live a healthy life.
Managing your risk factors and controlling your cholesterol levels requires long-term effort. We are here to help you, whether you need to manage complex cholesterol disorders or make basic lifestyle improvements.
Preventive cardiology is a specialized team of cardiologists, nurse practitioners, clinical lipid specialists, clinical dietitians and pharmacists who work with you to create individualized strategies to improve your health.
Our services include:
High sugar and fat content in restaurant food can be bad for your heart, so be cautious with your choices. Avoid deep-fried foods, cream-based soups, white sauces, gravies and high-fat meats. Instead, look for fish options, choose broiled, grilled, steamed or baked items prepared with little or no added oils, and request steamed veggies and whole-grain starches. Another great calorie-saving alternative is to share your entrée with a friend or have half your meal boxed up for another day.
Many restaurants have nutrition facts available online or on the menu to help you make smarter choices. Do some research before going out and select restaurants that offer healthy menu options.
Prevent overeating and promote a balanced diet by practicing portion control.
Some types of fat are better for your heart health than others:
Snacks can help keep your metabolism revved up between meals and keep your appetite in control. Avoid packaged foods high in salt and sugar; instead, choose fresh, whole foods. Smart options include:
Exercise can improve your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, help manage stress, promote weight loss and give you more energy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity, aerobic activity. Adults also should do muscle-strengthening activities that are moderate- or high-intensity and involve major muscle groups on two or more days a week.
Ultimately, some exercise is better than none. Set an attainable goal—even 10 minutes of exercise—and reach for that. You can increase your time the stronger and more used to physical activity you get. Walking, cycling, swimming, tennis, strength training and yoga are options that can improve your heart health.
If you need help planning an exercise program, your doctor can let you know which exercises are safe for your condition, then set an appropriate and realistic goal for starting a new fitness program.