Improve Your Heart Health

EMT chest compression

Your heart is a muscle that requires care like any other organ in your body. Don’t take heartbeats for granted.

Publish 3 February 2022

Ready to Begin a Healthier Life

February Heart Health Awareness Month

What can you do differently this month to improve your heart health? Many sugges­tions get little more than a passing thought. Heart health aware­ness is not simply for wearing colored ribbons or posting flyers. We should all take heart health seriously because it is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. [1]

Every year I do as much as I can to promote heart health aware­ness. Months ago, I was listening to an interest­ing talk radio segment with a cardio­logist. After­wards, I jotted down four main points to improve heart health. It is my pleasure to share them with you. Identify at least one change that will improve your heart health. Of the four points, the one that stood out to me is use of NSAIDs.

NSAID Pain Relievers

Effect of NSAIDs on Heart Health

NSAIDs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. They are often prescribed and overused for pain. This can negatively affect your heart health. Overuse of NSAIDs can lead to stroke, heart failure, myocardial infarc­tion, hyperten­sion, and venous thrombo­embolism. Those are some pretty big words. Let’s just say that a heart attack negates efforts to reduce pain with NSAIDs. Since 2001, several studies suggest that high doses of NSAIDs cause severe cardio­vascular risks and death. [2]

Heart Health Awareness

Avoid Bad NSAID Effects

Some of you may recall a prior injury led me to swallow­ing five or more NSAIDs daily. I listened intently to the radio talk show and had a thorough discussion with my doctor. My conclusion is that small doses of NSAIDs do not adversely affect heart health. NSAIDs are also safe if taken infre­quent­ly. Be aware that NSAID side effects occur as early as the first week of continuous use.

Alternatives to NSAIDs

My doctor provides the insight that there are less dan­ge­rous alterna­tives to NSAIDs. He advises me to use hot or cold packs and physical therapy to relieve muscle or joint pain. NSAIDS include ibuprofen, aceta­mino­phen, and my favorite, naproxen. Studies suggest that naproxen is less likely to affect heart health.

Other Efforts to Extend Heart Life

Since heart function requires no conscious effort, many people take heart­beats for granted. Your heart is a muscular organ that requires as much care as any other part of your body. Beyond reduction in NSAID use, three more things contribute to your heart health are below. [3]

  • Nutrition – Meals should contain mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and nuts. Moreover, you should limit salt, sugar, and red meat from your meal.
  • Exercise – Consider doing 30 minutes of cardio aerobic exercise five days a week. Exercise improves cognition and reduces stress.
  • Smoking – Quit smoking because it is injurious to heart health. An unhin­dered cardio­pulmonary system is important for proper oxygena­tion of blood.

Those are my notes from the radio program. I hope they are helpful to you. Which will you put into practice this month?

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