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Published on February 24, 2022

Cone Health Experts: 8 Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Heart Failure 

Two cardiologists offer simple tips that could save your life. 

Greensboro – American Heart Month might be winding down, but there are things you can do throughout the year to protect your heart and prioritize your health. 

Heart failure occurs when a person’s heart can no longer pump enough blood and oxygen to support their organs, or the heart muscle has stiffened, making it difficult for the heart to fill with blood. It’s a condition impacting around 6.2 million adults in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There are things you can do right now to lower your risk of developing heart failure. Cone Health cardiologists Dr. Gayatri Acharya and Dr. Heather Pemberton offer the following eight tips to reduce your risk of heart failure year-round:

#1: Exercise:

“We recommend 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week,” Pemberton said. “The more you move, the more you’re able to move, and the longer you live.” 

#2: Maintain a healthy diet:

“It doesn’t have to be extreme,” Acharya said. “We know the Mediterranean diet has good outcomes for heart-based health.” 

#3: Manage your cholesterol:

“An LDL (bad cholesterol) that is less than 100, or – even better – less than 70, is a major form of prevention,” Pemberton said. 

#4: Know your blood pressure goal:

“If you are able to keep your blood pressure, on average, lower than 120/80, that will significantly reduce your risk of developing heart failure in the future,” Pemberton said. 

#5: Manage your diabetes:

“If you can keep that diabetes under control with an A1C less than 7, you can significantly decrease your risk,” Pemberton said. 

#6: Don’t ignore your symptoms:

“If you’re concerned, it’s always fine to check with your primary care provider or come to your cardiologist to make sure everything is OK,” Acharya said. “We might be able to catch a problem early.” 

#7: Look out for those around you:

“If you’ve got somebody in your life who is ignoring their health or making choices that aren’t ideal, really support them by being there for them and saying, “can I help you get plugged in,” Acharya said. 

#8: Pay attention to your mental health:

“The pandemic has taken an enormous toll on a lot of people,” Acharya said. “Depression and anxiety don’t allow us to take the best care of ourselves. So really being in tune with whether you are doing well from a mental health standpoint is important – especially now.”

Acharya and Pemberton agree these steps can help you live a longer and healthier life. The key is to just get started. “Prevention is the best medicine,” Pemberton said. “And prevention can start at any time.” 

Learn more about the advanced cardiovascular services available at the Cone Health Heart and Vascular Center here.