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What Can Be Done to Strengthen a Weak Heart?

by
author image Crystal Welch
Crystal Welch has a 30-year writing history. Her more than 2,000 published works have been included in the health and fitness-related Wellness Directory, Earthdance Press and Higher Source. She is an award-winning writer who teaches whole foods cooking and has written a cookbook series. She operates an HON-code-certified health-related blog with more than 95,000 readers. Welch has a B.B.A. from Eastern Michigan University.
What Can Be Done to Strengthen a Weak Heart?
Strengthen your heart by monitoring your blood pressure and living a heart-healthy lifestyle. Photo Credit Zedcor Wholly Owned/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images

A weak heart can be defined as one that does not operate as intended after being damaged by conditions such as diabetes, enlarged heart, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease or obesity. Strengthen your heart by living a heart-healthy lifestyle that includes eating well, exercising and eliminating damaging habits. Because all medical conditions vary, check with your doctor first.

Quit Smoking

Smoking puts you at an increased risk of developing a number of health ailments that can weaken your heart. For example, atherosclerosis, a hardening of the coronary arteries caused by fatty substance buildup or cholesterol, can be caused by the carbon monoxide found in cigarettes, according to the American Heart Association. Carbon monoxide and nicotine weaken your heart by narrowing your arteries, diminishing the oxygen-carrying capabilities of red blood cells, increasing harmful cholesterol levels while also raising risks of a heart attack. Smoking also increases blood pressure, another risk factor for heart disease. Once you quit smoking, your lungs will begin to heal immediately and your blood pressure will lower within 20 minutes.

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Move More

Strengthen your weak heart by moving more and fitting increased amounts of aerobic, known as cardiovascular, activity into your lifestyle. Cardiovascular exercise increases your heart rate for an extended period of time and provides a number of health benefits, including increasing beneficial cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association. Engaging in moderately brisk levels of activity for at least 30 minutes five times weekly will strengthen your heart. Examples include walking, gardening, bicycling, dancing and swimming.

Limit Animal Fats

Pay attention to and limit the amount of animal fats you consume to improve heart health. Animal fats contain saturated fats, known as harmful fats. Too many saturated fats can lead to unhealthy levels of harmful cholesterol and cause blocking of your arterial walls, making heart blood flow difficult. Limit your saturated fat intake to less than 10-percent of your daily calories to improve your heart health.

Lose Weight

Lose extra weight to strengthen your weak heart. Obesity and being overweight are leading risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, stroke and high blood pressure. Carrying around extra poundage plays havoc on your heart health by lowering your beneficial cholesterol levels, harming your blood vessel and heart system, and hindering blood circulation. At the same time, extra weight increases triglyceride and blood pressure levels. Losing weight will strengthen your heart by improving blood circulation, help manage fluid levels more efficiently and reduce your risks of sleep disorders,

Restrict Trans Fats

Strictly limit -- or omit -- trans fat from your meal plan to strengthen a weak heart. Trans fats simultaneously increase your harmful cholesterol levels and decrease your beneficial cholesterol levels, according to the Mayo Clinic. Lowering your consumption of commercially prepared foods -- such as baked goods, boxed foods, canned foods, frozen foods and deep-fried foods -- will help. Be aware that food labels may state that a product contains zero trans fat, but the food may actually contain less than .5 grams per serving. That can add up if you consume a variety of those foods. If partially hydrogenated oil or shortening is listed on a nutrition label, the food contains some trans fats.

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