Managing heart disease symptoms, halting the progression of the disease, and improving the quality of your life can all be accomplished by adhering to a dietary and better lifestyle, choices-healthy body weight, regular exercise, stress management, and no smoking. Those with mild or moderate heart failure can generally live fairly normal lives because of these treatments.

However, changing one’s way of life can sometimes be more complex than it sounds. But, the quality of your life can improve if you incorporate these adjustments into your everyday routine.

You’ll find some of the most helpful recommendations on how to maintain a healthy heart. Moreover, we discussed some harmful habits you should break, particularly if you want to live a healthy lifestyle.

What Is A Healthy Heart?

Heart disease is a leading health problem for many people in the United States. In fact, according to the 2020 death report, heart disease was responsible for the deaths of 697,000 persons. Obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes profoundly affect cardiovascular health. They are often the result of a combination of a sedentary lifestyle, an unhealthy diet, and a hereditary predisposition.

Keeping your heart healthy is one of the best ways to extend your life expectancy. You may evaluate your cardiovascular health using doctors’ criteria to assess their patients.

So what exactly do doctors use to determine a healthy heart? Here are the key determinants of a healthy heart:

Normal Heart Rate

Adults typically have a resting heart rate of 60 to 100 bpm. The rate at which your heart beats at rest can be affected by several factors, including lack of sleep, worry, stress, and even certain medications. Feeling one’s pulse is the most straightforward method for determining one’s heart rate.

Get advice from doctors on a healthy resting heart rate, and they can also advise you on how to react to any abnormalities.

Blood Pressure Readings

A blood pressure reading of 120 over 80 millimeters of mercury or less indicates a healthy heart. Your blood pressure is considered high if the systolic reading is 130 mm Hg and above or the diastolic reading is 90 or higher. Keep a close eye on your blood pressure; if anything doesn’t improve, it’s best to get checked out by a doctor.

Measuring your blood pressure is the most reliable approach to getting an accurate reading. Have your doctor perform it, or get a home blood pressure monitor and check it often. Keep up with your annual physical exams at the family doctor’s office, and remember that home evaluation is no replacement for professional medical treatment.

Proper respiration

Having a healthy cardiovascular system means engaging in moderately strenuous physical activity without symptoms like chest pain, the tension in the chest, or shortness of breath. Your heart is well.

Image alt text: how to maintain a healthy heart. Water sport exercise to maintain a healthy heart.

Author credit: By Cpl. Earnest J. Barnes – ID: 200572675630Submitting Unit: Marine Barracks 8th & I, Public Domain,

In other words, pay attention if you are out of breath and must stop doing something. You are the expert on your physical self. If you’re feeling tired, lay low for a while. If you have trouble breathing or feel excessive strain in your chest, go to the emergency room instead of an urgent care clinic.

Cholesterol Levels

Cholesterol is essential to cellular function, but only in moderate amounts. However, blood cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels can increase due to a poor diet and lifestyle choices such as not exercising and eating too much-saturated fat.

Total cholesterol levels below 200 mg/dl are acceptable for adults (those 18 and above). However, levels between 200 and 239 mg/dl are considered borderline high, and those of 240 mg/dl and above is considered excessive.

The optimal range for LDL is less than 100 mg/dL, whereas HDL should be higher than 40 mg/dL. Total cholesterol levels in children and adolescents (17 and under) should be less than 170 mg/dL, LDL levels must be lower than 110, and HDL levels must be higher than 45 mg/dL.

Only a blood test can tell you whether or not your cholesterol levels are too high. You should get regular diagnostic testing if you are concerned about your heart health or cholesterol levels.

Good Dental Health

Heart health may be reflected in good oral health and vice versa. According to a study published by the American College of Cardiology, blood pressure is often lower in those with healthy gums than in those with severe gum disease. It has been shown that people whose gums are healthy have a more positive reaction to blood pressure treatment.

Several studies show that your risk of having a stroke, heart failure, or heart attack increases thrice if you don’t clean your teeth. Therefore, you should get checked out with your doctor after every six months for adequate dental health.

Your Energy Levels

Feeling energized and alert all day long is a good indicator of cardiovascular health. However, walking a few streets, going shopping, lugging groceries, or climbing the stairs can leave you feeling exhausted, and it’s a sign that your heart is working too hard to generate sufficient blood to meet your body’s needs.

In addition to causing daytime sleepiness and nighttime snoring, sleep apnea can disrupt your sleep patterns. An increased chance of hypertension and arrhythmias is associated with sleep apnea (atrial fibrillation). A lack of quality sleep might indicate a sick heart and vice versa.

The American Heart Association reports that less than 6 hours of sleep per night increases cardiovascular disease risk by 25%. But if you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, your risk of cardiovascular disease is double that of people who get a full night’s rest.

Quick Heart Recovery Rate

The term “heart rate recovery” refers to the rate at which your heart rate returns to its resting state after you finish exercising or high-intensity activities.

Especially in people who are at high risk for cardiovascular disease, heart rate recovery has proven to be an effective method for validating cardiovascular health. A faster recovery from exercise is associated with improved cardiovascular health.

Be sure your heart can handle the activity levels you aim for by staying in tune with your body. Healthcare specialists can assist you and offer diagnostic alternatives if you are concerned about your heart health.

How Do You Recognize Unhealthy Heart?

You can know you have an unhealthy heart if you experience heart disease or complications.

In general, “heart disease” refers to a group of illnesses that negatively affect the heart. Diseases of the heart include:

  • Arrhythmias or irregular heartbeat
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Coronary artery disease or blood vessel infections

All these conditions would present various symptoms. Therefore, you’ll know you have heart problems if you see the following signs and symptoms:

Symptoms that may indicate coronary artery disease

  • Breathing difficulty
  • Discomfort in the upper region of the body, including the back, jaw, neck, or stomach
  • Coldness, numbness, or weakness of the leg or arm caused by constricted arteries
  • Tightness or soreness in the chest, feeling like something is pressing on the chest, or experiencing pressure in the chest

Coronary artery disease may not be diagnosed until a patient has suffered a stroke, angina, or heart attack. Therefore, watch for signs of heart trouble and talk to your doctor if you’re worried. Cardiovascular illness (heart disease) is one condition that can occasionally be detected early with the help of routine health checkups.

Symptoms caused by Arrhythmias may include:

  • Chest discomfort or pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness 

Symptoms caused by congenital defects:

Most congenital severe cardiac abnormalities are diagnosed shortly after birth. The following are examples of symptoms a kid may experience if they have a congenital heart defect:

  • Pale lips or skin
  • Poor weight growth in infants due to difficulty breathing during feedings
  • The appearance of swelling in the lower extremities, midsection, or eyelids

Certain forms of congenital cardiac disease are not detected until much later in life, even if they were present at birth. Common but usually non-life-threatening signs of congenital cardiac abnormalities include:

  • Difficulty breathing during physical exertion
  • Weakness and tiredness, especially during physical exertion

Symptoms caused by heart valve issues

Symptoms of heart valve disease typically consist of the following:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue and chest pain
  • Swollen feet and ankles
  • Irregular heartbeat

So, how to maintain a healthy heart or prevent your heart from deteriorating?

How Modifying Your Way of Life can Improve Your Heart Health

Here are some of the most important strategies on how to maintain a healthy heart everyone should consider doing:

Exercise More Often

Exercise is not only a necessary aspect of a healthy lifestyle, but it also has significant benefits for your heart. Exercise serves as a first line of defense against cardiovascular disease.

Image alt text: how to maintain a healthy heart. A treadmill race for healthy heart.

Author credit: By Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Regular exercise serves the following benefits:

Reduces Inflammation: As the inflammation persists over time, it damages blood vessel walls and weakens cell membranes. Therefore, doing even a little exercise will help reduce inflammation and strengthen your heart.

Improve blood pressure: There is a lot of evidence that people with hypertension whose blood pressure is elevated can benefit from regular aerobic exercise and see a decrease in the number of cardiovascular risks they experience.

Improves cholesterol level: Thankfully, studies have shown that high-intensity exercise reduces low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride levels more than any other exercise. Also, increasing the number of sets and reps during resistance training significantly lowers cholesterol levels, a risk factor for heart disease.

Improve your general heart health: Your heart muscle pumps blood throughout your body. The heart’s muscle cells actively pump blood through the body’s veins and capillaries, delivering oxygen to the required tissues and organs. A healthier heart and stronger heart muscle tissue are both benefits of regular exercise, as they lessen your risk of heart complications.

Keep a Healthy Weight

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors include obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. If you are obese, decreasing just 5-10% of your body mass can significantly lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and in some cases, even more, weight loss may be beneficial.

How best can you maintain a healthy weight?

Energy balance: When daily caloric intake is equal to daily caloric expenditure, it is necessary for weight maintenance. To keep your weight stable, you must balance your energy intake and expenditure. If your body’s energy levels aren’t stable, you’ll either lose or put on more weight.  

Hence, knowing the total calories, your body requires while at rest is the first step toward achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. If you want to maintain your current weight, keeping a meal journal or utilizing a calorie-tracking app will help you achieve that objective.

Consume a wide range of nutritious foods: Always make sure your meal contains a balance of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, protein, and carbohydrates.

If you’re watching your weight, eating more nutrient-dense foods will help you feel full on a more negligible calorie Nutrient-dense foods provide more volume of food for the same number of calories, which can be helpful if you’re attempting to lose weight.

Serve appropriate portions: Serving yourself a large amount is simple. But, a scale, measurement cups, or you can use hand-symbol references to help you avoid overeating and ensure you have reasonable serving sizes.

Eat Heart-healthy diet

You can become healthy through your diet. In other words, your choices of foods can make or fail your healthy. Therefore, for proper heart health, consider including the following meals in your diet:

Eat more oils and fats from plants: Oils derived from plants, such as avocado and olive oil, have been found to lower cholesterol levels and, thus healthy heart. Unsaturated fats, such as those from plants, can replace saturated fats in the diet, with the desired effects of lowering “bad” cholesterol and raising “good” cholesterol.

Eating more nutrient-dense high-fat meals is another option for increasing your consumption of healthy fats.

Consider more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants: Fruits and vegetables are great sources of dietary fiber and many other beneficial nutrients, such as the antioxidants that help prevent cell damage caused by free radicals and oxidative stress.

Besides, a recent meta-analysis links a lower risk of heart disease, cancer, and death to daily servings of fruits and vegetables.

Consume plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains: Consuming a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains has been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease due to their high levels of dietary fiber, antioxidant vitamins, and minerals.

Diet fiber: High fiber diets are associated with lower cholesterol levels because the extra cholesterol is flushed out of the body during bowel movements. The risk of heart disease is lowered due to the decrease in blood levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol.

Quit Smoking

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and smoking is directly responsible for one in four deaths. Furthermore, secondhand smoke raises the risk of cardiovascular disease by approximately 25% – 30%.

So, what exactly does smoking do to your heart? Here are some of the effects:

  • Trigger blood vessel wall thickening and constriction leading to stroke
  • Increase blood levels of triglycerides
  • Reduce levels of healthy (HDL) cholesterol, thus more bad cholesterol
  • Accelerate the development of arterial plaque (consisting of fatty deposits, calcium deposits, and other substances).
  • Reduce blood viscosity and clotting ability, reducing blood supply to your heart and brain.

The sooner you quit smoking, the lower your risk of cardiovascular disease will be. One study indicated that quitting smoking before you are 40 can reduce your risk of dying by a remarkable 90%.

If you are a smoker, establish a strategy to stop. Include potential roadblocks and proposed solutions. To help you succeed in quitting smoking, write out the steps you want to take.

Write down all the adverse effects you’ve experienced from smoking and choose a quit date. Be dedicated to the process by surrounding yourself with people who will encourage you and whom you can turn to for help when you’re struggling.

Get Enough Sleep

The risk of cardiovascular disease is higher in people who suffer from sleep disorders or disruptions such as sleep apnea or insomnia. In turn, figuring out how to get a better night’s sleep will aid in the fight against heart disease. Therefore, make sleeping a top priority and work on your sleeping habits.

Manage Your Stress

Stress is linked to harmful health habits that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, like overeating, not getting enough sleep, drinking too much, smoking, and not getting enough exercise.

Also, it’s related to adverse stress responses such as increased irregular heart rate, blood pressure, and decreased blood supply to the heart. Each day, devote at least ten minutes to a stress-reduction technique.

Limit your alcohol consumption

The heart suffers from the effects of alcohol. Long-term alcohol use is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular illness, including hypertension, arteriosclerosis, heart failure, high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, impaired blood clotting, inflammation, and heart-muscle disease known as alcoholic cardiomyopathy (ACM).


Changing one’s lifestyle and taking control of risk factors can significantly reduce one’s likelihood of developing heart disease, the leading cause of death worldwide. As a result, improving heart health is not limited to dietary and activity modifications. Stress management, smoking cessation, and regular, restful sleep are also important.