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How Can I Take Better Care of My Heart?

We all want to do our best to live a long, healthy life. To do that, it's important to focus on your heart health.

During American Heart Month, our team at AFC Urgent Care Southcenter wants to share steps you can take to improve your overall health while lowering your risk of heart disease.

How Does Smoking Affect Your Heart Health?

With each cigarette you smoke, your heart rate increases. As your heart rate increases, the major arteries in your body begin to tighten, which then causes you to have an irregular heart rhythm. Because of this, your heart has to work even harder than before, which can put you at an increased risk of high blood pressure, stroke and/or heart attack.

Therefore, you want to do all you can to quit smoking as soon as possible—or never begin smoking in the first place.

Ways to Help Quit Smoking

  • Find your reason.
  • Prepare yourself before you try to quit.
  • Consider using a nicotine replacement therapy.
  • Find a support system.
  • Give yourself grace.
  • Choose alternative methods of dealing with stress.

What Happens When Your Blood Pressure Is High?

First, let's define blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force with which blood hits the artery walls while moving through the body.

When your blood pressure is high, it puts your heart—and the rest of your body—in danger. Over time, high blood pressure damages and weakens the arteries, which can prevent proper blood flow.

Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

  • Take medications, if prescribed.
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes each day.
  • Aim for between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.
  • Find effective ways of managing stress.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet filled with fiber.
  • Limit alcohol consumption.
  • Don't smoke.

Are you wanting to take the next steps to improve your heart health? Visit AFC Urgent Care Southcenter today for a medical evaluation to see where your health currently stands, including getting a blood pressure screening!