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3 Habits for a Healthier Heart

3 Habits for a Healthier Heart

3 Ways to Support Your Heart Health

It's February, and that means love is in the air! In light of American Heart Month, the health experts at ATRIO Health Plans are here to share some tips to help you show your love muscle a little extra attention and care.

1. Always Get a Good Night’s Rest

Not only does getting enough sleep help you to feel well-rested and alert, but it also helps to support your cardiovascular health! According to the Sleep Foundation, getting 7-9 hours of rest each night provides the following heart health benefits:

  • Lowers heart rate.
  • Lowers blood pressure.
  • Stabilizes your breathing.
  • Helps your heart to recover from strain.
  • Reduces your risk for cardiac events.

2. Practice Good Dental Hygiene

While it may seem surprising—research has shown that those who practice poor dental hygiene have a higher risk for developing cardiovascular disease and having cardiac events. Although more research needs to be done, it is believed that poor oral health is linked to heart health issues due to:

  • The bacteria that affect the gums enter the blood vessels, causing inflammation and damage.
  • Your body’s immune response to bacteria in the mouth causes inflammation that damages the blood vessels.
  • Other areas of health that may also be neglected.

In order to keep up with your dental and oral health, be sure to add these steps to your morning and nighttime routines:

  • Floss between your teeth, removing food particles and debris.
  • Brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes.
  • Use toothpaste with fluoride.
  • Rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash.

3. Avoid Cigarettes & Secondhand Smoke

Smoking cigarettes and using tobacco products negatively impact every area of your health, including your cardiovascular system. When smoking tobacco, hundreds of chemicals are entering your body that make it harder for oxygen to get to your heart and for your heart to pump oxygenated blood to other areas of your body.

Like smoking yourself, nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke are also at a heightened risk of developing heart disease. Inhaling smoke from someone else can also damage your heart and blood vessels.

If you have questions about how else you can help to support your heart health, be sure to reach out to your primary care doctor to discuss your unique needs.