Heart Health & Prevention

Keep your heart strong for a lifetime. Rely on Essentia Health to provide education and support so you can lead a heart-healthy lifestyle.

Prevent or Manage Heart Problems

Making lifestyle changes can help you control a heart condition or reduce your risk of developing one. Even small steps can make a big difference.

  • Eat a balanced diet. Include fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean sources of protein like beans, fish, and nuts. Avoid foods that are fried, packaged, or high in salt or sugar.
  • Be active. Exercise 20 to 30 minutes most days. Working out at an Essentia fitness center or elsewhere can strengthen your heart and manage your weight.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Losing weight if you’re overweight can help prevent many health problems. Working with a weight management expert can help.
  • Get quality sleep. Aim for 8 hours a night. Talk to a sleep specialist for more information.
  • Quit smoking or using tobacco and avoid secondhand smoke. See tips for quitting tobacco and how it benefits your overall health.
  • Manage stress. Hobbies, spending time with loved ones, exercise, and mindfulness can help.
  • Manage health conditions. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, prediabetes, and metabolic syndrome are linked to an increased risk of heart trouble. See your primary care doctor regularly to prevent and manage health problems.

Cardiology: Tips for a Heart Healthy Lifestyle Video Transcript

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Text, Tips for a heart healthy lifestyle. Essentia HealthA woman in an examining room with a model of a heart next to her

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SPEAKER: I think the number one thing that I can tell my patients to really help them have a tremendous impact on their heart health is to move. Just move. And for most people, it's incorporating maybe 10, 15 minutes of physical activity into their daily routine and then try to build that up to the recommended 30 minutes of daily activity. The other thing that we often see are people who are smokers, and I counsel everybody every time I see them to consider cutting back or quitting smoking. There are diet changes that you can make that will reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. The DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet have been the ones that have been proven. Those include making sure you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, reducing the sodium intake to less than 2 grams per day, and limiting the amount of red meat and dairy that you eat.

Are You at Risk for Heart Disease?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the United States. Learn your risk for heart disease by taking our free online heart health risk assessment to learn how you can prevent future complications. Heart disease symptoms can be different in everyone so it’s important to understand your personal risk factors.

During the assessment, you compare your actual age to your heart's biological age, calculate your risks of developing cardiovascular disease, and prioritize your most harmful risk factors. Take our free, five-minute online heart assessment to learn your "heart age" and discover helpful lifestyle tips.

Heart health risk assessment

Broken Heart Syndrome

Medical Insight: Broken Heart Syndrome Video Transcript

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Essentia Health logo. Text: Medical insights. A woman and man laugh by sparkling water

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TRACY BRIGGS: The language we use about love can sometimes seem like anything but. Crushes, falling heart, heartache, broken hearts.

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A man rests his head in one hand

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As they say, love hurts, right? And it's not exactly wrong. Your broken heart can actually hurt, and in extreme cases, the term died of a broken heart can be true. Turns

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Heart model with EKG lines moving over it.

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out, there is a medical reason for the physical side of emotional pain. Essentia Health interventional cardiologist Dr. Samantha Kapphahn says it's possible because of topic pseudo cardiomyopathy, or broken heart syndrome, where the heart is so shocked or surprised by extreme emotion that stress hormones or adrenaline flood the body.

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Model of inside the body with heart, veins, and internal organs shown.

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DR. SAMANTHA KAPPHAHN: The way that the body responds to that surge of stress hormones in your body creates certain changes with the way the heart acts and the way the heart functions. Dr. Kapphahn says people with broken heart syndrome might feel like they're having a heart attack. But Dr. Kapphahn says doctors can tell it's not a heart attack when they look more closely at the patient's arteries.

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EKG machines. Healthcare professional talking to woman.

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DR. SAMANTHA KAPPHAHN: Traditionally, with people who have the broken heart syndrome, their heart arteries, for the most part, are actually pretty good. Or their episode is not being caused by a blocked artery in the sense, like a heart attack might be the way most of us think about them. TRACY BRIGGS: Beside the difference in the amount of artery blockage, Dr. Kapphahn says another clear indicator of broken heart syndrome is distinctive patterns in how the heart pumps.

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Models of vein, and then upper body.

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DR. SAMANTHA KAPPHAHN: The very early bases of the heart squeeze very aggressively. But the rest of the heart is so stunned and in shock, it doesn't squeeze very well at all.

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Woman at desk with picture of heart on monitor.

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TRACY BRIGGS: Dr. Kapphahn says broken heart syndrome can happen to anyone during times of extreme emotion. The good news, though, is that those with a broken heart aren't usually suffering from a serious medical issue. However, in those rare, serious cases, patients usually recover with the help of cardiac medication and emotional support. With this Essentia Health Medical Insight, I'm Tracy Briggs.

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Essentia Health logo. Text: Medical Insights.

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