Little changes that can make a big difference in heart health

(Morgan/Flickr Commons)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – February is heart health month. We all know, the basics…eat healthy and exercise more. But there are also a lot of little thing you can change in your everyday life to improve your heart health.

As a symbol, the heart stands for love, as an organ it means life. It’s true, your can’t change your genetics, but Baystate Cardiologist Dr. Hebba Wassif told 22News you can control your risk factors.

“Even if you can’t control your genetics, if you control your risk factors. The diabetes, the hypertension, if you are able to control those, that does contribute to your heart health and overcome your bad genes,” explained Dr. Wassif.

Sometimes when you go to the cardiologist they will put you on this treadmill machine. It’s called a stress test and it measures your heart’s ability to exercise while it is being monitored. Sometimes you’ll be injected with dye that can detect blockages. At home, it’s a good idea to check your blood pressure.

Here’s some little things you can do to improve your heart health. Have a nutritious breakfast, stop drinking your calories, get 10,000 steps a day, eat an extra fruit or veggie, have a handful of nuts, eat fish, and breath deeply. People told 22News they’re not doing the little things, that can make a big difference.

“I don’t,” admitted Mariah Mullin of Springfield. “I should but I don’t. Maybe I should exercise a little more. A little cardio, a little diet. That’s about it.”

Dr. Wassif told 22News it’s all about making small changes in your lief that you can sustain over time. She said it’s never too late in life to start making heart healthy decisions.