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Welcome to the home of Help Hearts.com

Our mission is to provide heart health information to all heart disease sufferers looking for helping hearts anytime or anywhere including exercise and dieting

Improving arteries heart health

Medical Researchers prove Diet and Exercise are
Effective Treatments for Heart Health

Heart health is slowly improving nationwide according to a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Heart disease is the #1 cause of death and a major cause of disability in the U.S. About 700,000 Americans die of heart-disease annually. This represents about 30% of all deaths. To raise awareness of heart-disease, since the 1960s, Congress has requested the President proclaims February as "American Heart Month."

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The chance of getting coronary heart disease can be lowered dramatically by taking steps to prevent and control factors that put people at greater risk for heart-conditions. Heart disease tends to cluster in families; thus, family medical history offers important information for identifying the health risk in individuals. Such family histories can analyze the effects and interactions of family shared genetic and environmental factors leading to heart disease in a family. In addition, there are several genetic disorders associated with increased risk of premature heart attacks.

A relatively common disorder is familial hypercholesterolemia, which may affect 1 out of 500 people in the U.S. Early detection of this disorder can contribute to reducing the burden of heart disease in affected individuals and their families. In the future, genetic testing to determine personal-risk estimates for heart disease may also prove useful, but this approach has not yet been scientifically validated. Remember, diet and exercise is the key to heart-health.

Taking Charge: An Action Plan about ongoing good Heart Health

The good news: Research shows that people can lower their heart disease risk enormously by as much as 80% simply by adopting sensible health and wellness habits. It’s never too late or too soon to start protecting your heart health, starting as soon as today, and working on ways to cure heart disease now -- or at least find the cure in the near future!

What does it mean to “lead a healthy lifestyle”? Here are the basics:

If you eat a nutritious diet, get regular physical activity, maintain a healthy weight, and stop smoking to avoid getting emphysema or need coronary treatment for heart disease, and will help to keep your heart healthy. But doing just one or two of these “Big Four” habits isn’t really sufficient to protect your heart. To keep your heart strong and healthy for years it's vital to adopt and practice all four lifestyle habits.

Some people may need to take additional steps to prevent heart disease. For example, if you have diabetes, you also will need to keep your blood sugar levels under control. Eating a nutritious diet, controlling your weight, and getting more physical activity will help you to keep your blood sugar at healthy levels. These steps will also help reduce your chances of developing high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol. Whatever your current health condition or habits, the action plan that follows will make a positive difference in your heart health.

Heart Health Is a Family Affair

When it comes to heart health, what’s good for you is good for your whole family . . . including its youngest members. We now know that two-thirds of teenagers have at least one risk factor for heart disease, from overweight and “couch potato-itis” to unhealthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Even more disturbing, about one million U.S. teenagers have metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of risk factors that greatly increases the risk of a later heart attack. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to help them develop heart healthy habits and the earlier the better. Here are some ways to begin:

Set a good example. Adults have a big influence on children’s and teens’ behavior, even though kids may not want to admit it. If you follow a healthy lifestyle, the younger members of your family will be more likely to do the same. Let them see you eating nutritious snacks and enjoying outdoor activities, and invite them to join in. If you smoke, stop and tell your children and grand kids why you’re quitting.

What’s cookin’? Fully 80% of children eat fewer than five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. What to do? Practice “stealth cooking” - creating healthy meals for kids that will still make their mouths water. You can chop veggies into small pieces and add them to favorite recipes, such as pizza or spaghetti sauce. If your kids love tacos, try replacing taco shells with crunchy lettuce leaves, and pile on some extra chopped tomato. Use whole-wheat or bran breads to add fiber to sandwiches. For dessert, skip the ice cream and offer fresh fruit, fig bars, ginger snaps, graham crackers, or frozen fat-free dairy desserts.

Raise “kitchen kids.” Most young children enjoy cooking when it’s thought to be an easy and fun activity. Show young kids how to clean fruits and veggies and combine them into colorful salads. Let them make “fruit-salad faces” out of sliced apples, bananas, and raisins. When they’re old enough, teach children to use the stove, oven, microwave, and toaster safely. Show teens how to make simple, healthy dishes, such as whole-grain pasta with vegetables and broiled chicken or fish. Encourage them to be creative with herbs and spices. Children who have basic kitchen skills appreciate food more and are more likely to try new dishes.

Get them moving. The latest “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” recommend that children and teenage children be physically active for at least 1-hour a day. In a teen world full of video games, TV shows, and computer offerings, few young people are as active as they should be. To encourage children to get off the couch, find out what kinds of physical activities they do enjoy and make it easy for them to participate. If the kids in your family like to ride bikes, plan a Sunday outing on your local trail. Walk, cycle, or jog with them to places close by. Use your backyard or local park to toss a Frisbee around or to play a game of basketball, badminton, or volleyball.

Make an effort to gear activities to children’s ages. Younger kids, up to age 10, tend to have quick bursts of energy between longer periods of rest, while older children usually have more endurance. Play down the competition, play up the fun, and pretty soon, your kids may start asking you to shoot some hoops. Get in shape!

A Change of Heart . . . Taking care of your heart is the most important thing you can do for your health, longevity and well-being. But, because heart health involves changing daily habits, it can require some real effort. To make the process easier, try tackling only one habit at a time. For example, if you smoke cigarettes and also eat a diet high in saturated fats, work first on kicking the smoking habit. Then, once you’ve become comfortable as a nonsmoker, begin to skim the fat from your diet.

Remember, nobody’s perfect. Nobody always eats the ideal diet or gets just the right amount of physical activity. The important thing is to follow a sensible, realistic lifestyle which will slowly lessen your chances of developing heart disease as you get older.

So keep at it. Work with your doctor. Ask family members and friends for support. If you slip, try again. Be good to your heart, and it will reward you many times over with a better chance for ongoing good health wellness over the decades and longevity combined with a vigorously living lifestyle.