Housekeeping Your Heart Health

by Melissa Chichester

Did you know that your arteries are only four millimeters in diameter?

This is a small space for something that does such an important job – and it serves as a good reminder of how important it is to take care of your heart health.

Many of us work hard to practice healthy daily habits that will keep our hearts in tip-top shape. However, it is important to conduct “housekeeping” on your heart health to make sure your heart is the best it can be! So what do you need to do to tidy up? Check out these tips. 

Schedule an appointment with your doctor or cardiologist 

Do you have a history of a heart condition? If it has been a while since you had a check-in with your doctor or cardiologist, get an appointment on the calendar. Whether it was a one-time cardiac event or you have concerns right now, it is essential to get the tests and evaluations you may need. 

Your healthcare practitioner may recommend these common heart tests, according to the University of Michigan:

  • Echocardiogram – produces images of the heart 
  • Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) – creates detailed heart images
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) – measures electrical activity
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – creates images of structures and organs
  • CT scan – an X-ray
  • Exercise cardiac stress test – measures the rhythm of the heart
  • Pharmacologic stress test – dilates the arteries 
  • Tilt test – a patient lies on a table that tilts 
  • Ambulatory rhythm monitoring tests – records and monitors heart activity
  • Coronary angiogram – a type of X-ray that involves a camera being inserted into the arteries 

Know your family heart health history 

Make sure your doctor knows your family heart health history. Knowing as much as you can about your family helps your healthcare practitioner determine what tests you may need now or in the future. Make a list of any heart conditions that siblings, your parents, grandparents, and even aunts, uncles, and cousins have had or currently have. Inform your doctor so they can make the appropriate recommendations.

Woman throwing leaves in the air in a heart shape heart health

Clean up your supplement routine 

If you take heart health supplements, it is important to evaluate your routine with your healthcare practitioner’s guidance. In addition, look at the supplements you currently have and make sure they have not expired. 

Common heart health supplements include:

  • CoQ-10 Supplements – Co Q-10 supplements can help replenish what is lost with age or what statin medications deplete; however, it is not a replacement for statin medications.
  • Fish Oil Supplements – A source of healthy fats 
  • Ubiquinol Supplements – Supports energy production within your heart and muscles**

Always consult your healthcare practitioner before taking any new supplements. 

Evaluate your habits 

Throughout a lifetime, our habits naturally change. We don’t always eat right, exercise, or reduce stress. However, it is important to check-in with ourselves when we slip out of those healthy habits. To evaluate your habits, keep a journal for one week. Your journal might track:

  • The foods you eat
  • How much stress you felt
  • How much water you drink daily
  • How much exercise you participated in
  • How much time you spent sitting 
  • How much alcohol you drank 

After reviewing your habits for one week, you will know where to make changes. You can even share these habits with your doctor for extra help while making adjustments. 

Making simple adjustments to give your heart a check-up can have a big impact on your health and well-being for years to come!