3 Scientifically Proven Ways to Test Your Heart Health At Home

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Worried about your heart health? Here’s how to check it yourself (without a trip to the doctor)!

We all know heart disease is a major health concern, and the thought of it can be scary. But what if I told you there were ways to check in on your heart health from the comfort of your own home? Forget expensive tests or complicated equipment – these simple methods are backed by science and can give you valuable insights.

Intrigued? Keep reading to discover three scientifically proven ways to assess your heart health at home. Let’s take control of our well-being, one easy step at a time!

Stairs test

study by the European Society of Cardiology found that being able to climb four flights of stairs in less than a minute indicates good heart health.

“The stairs test is an easy way to check your heart health,” said study author Dr. Jesús Peteiro, a cardiologist at University Hospital A Coruña, Spain. “If it takes you more than one-and-a-half minutes to ascend four flights of stairs, your health is suboptimal, and it would be a good idea to consult a doctor.”

This study was conducted to examine the relationship between a daily activity — such as climbing stairs — and the results obtained from exercise testing in a laboratory.

“The idea was to find a simple and inexpensive method of assessing heart health,” Peteiro said. “This can help physicians triage patients for more extensive examinations.”

Buy a blood pressure cuff

With a blood pressure cuff or pulse monitor, you can more accurately check your heart rate to see if you’re in good shape for your age, gender and weight group.

Your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats in a minute. The ideal resting heart rate for adults is 60 to 100 bpm. Very fit individuals, such as athletes, may have resting heart rates below 60 bpm.

A cuff will also measure your blood pressure. If your BP is consistently 130/80 or higher, you have hypertension, or high blood pressure.

According to WebMD, years of high blood pressure can stiffen and narrow your artery walls, which blocks the blood flow to your heart. It can lead to heart disease or heart attack.

Aerobic exercise

Aerobic exercise can improve circulation and help to reduce your blood pressure and heart rate.

“Although not as specific as the stairs test, aerobic exercises can be a great general indicator of your heart health,” according to Generation Iron. “For example, if you find yourself unexpectedly out of breath during light aerobic exercise, you may have an underlying heart condition. This is also true if you feel extremely tired out by a light amount of aerobic exercise — there may not be enough oxygen in your blood traveling to your muscles.”

When to see a doctor

If you’re unable to pass any of the above tests, you should contact your physician for more accurate and in-depth testing.

Although a low resting heart rate is usually a sign of a healthy heart, it could also be a sign of an underlying problem, according to healthline.

“If your heart rate is lower than 60 bpm and you’re experiencing chest pain, call 911. If you’re experiencing dizziness, weakness, fainting, or other concerning symptoms, call a doctor,” the website explained.

Conversely, it’s normal to have an elevated heart rate when you’re exercising, stressed, anxious, sick or you have consumed caffeine.

It’s not normal, however, to have a heart rate more than 100 bpm when you’re resting, especially if you’re also experiencing dizziness, weakness, headache, palpitations, sudden anxiety or chest pain.

If you’re having these symptoms, call a doctor.

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About the Author: Sasha Bayat, RD, LDN

Registered dietitian Sasha Bayat, RD, LDN.Sasha’s advice for easy, nutritious meals is to keep staple items that are shelf stable in your pantry and to practice having half a plate of vegetables, a quarter of protein, and a quarter of complex carbohydrates. She advises not to shy away from bagged, canned, or frozen foods, as they can still offer just as many nutrients!

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