A woman with a heart on her chest walks over a hill covered in flowers with a smile on her face.

Check Out That Heart

Heart health is a very important topic. I honestly feel that it does not get enough limelight. This is not only valid for people with heart failure and related health conditions. I strongly believe that education is the key to looking after our hearts, and getting regular checkups, etc. While this may not cure anything, it could lead to early detection and overall better heart health, which is a good thing all around.

When should I get my heart checked?

After a long chat with my general practitioner, and giving him the rundown of my family's health he has suggested that it is time to get a checkup at 38. I should possibly have started sooner. And I know for sure that I could have taken better care of my heart up until now. Better late than never right?

Having heart failure in my family history, he has suggested that I get my heart checked every 2 years. Moving forward I need to pay attention to these things, make up for some lost time and move forward with a goal in mind. My goal is to live a healthy long life and have the heart to support that.

What do I need to do next?

Looking at family history of heart failure, and other risk factors

If you feel that it is time for you or a loved one to start seeing to your heart health, there are a few things to consider. So that you can make sure that everything is checked and have a good baseline to move forward. I would suggest starting by making a list of your concerns, even if they don't make the most sense. Do not worry about having the correct terminology, etc. Look into your family's heart health history and related factors and jot them down too. I am infamous for doing all the work and then sitting in the doctor's office with a mouth full of teeth. Lists make this task easier for me.

If you need to, go see your general practitioner first and get a referral for a cardiologist, alternatively, if you are able, go directly to the cardiologist. This is different from place to place and various insurance companies require different steps to be followed. Make that appointment.

What can I do in the meantime?

Eating for a healthy heart

What you eat is something you can start paying attention to, without even needing to go to the doctor. Have a look at what you are eating and see if you can improve on that in order to improve your heart health. Find a reliable source for information regarding heart health and your diet, lots of smaller improvements can go a long way. Once you have been to a doctor they can give you a more detailed and accurate idea of what you have and should be eating. Learning to support your heart health in the best way possible is an investment you will not regret.

Walking

Dory from Disney's "Finding Nemo," very famously said, "just keep swimming".

For me, it is rather "just keep walking", even if you go for one short walk a day, it is better than doing nothing. It can improve your overall health, and I do believe your heart will be grateful, too. Walking is one of the best forms of exercise for an all-around healthier body. It can be done almost anywhere and requires no membership. If you have any concerns, chat with your doctor about your limitations, and do not over-exert yourself. One step at a time.

When did you first get your heart checked? How do you and your doctor work together to better your heart health? Share your story with the community by clicking the button below.

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