An increasing number of people are living with heart health problems. According to the American Heart Association, nearly 50 percent of all adults in the US have heart disease, and most cardiovascular diseases are the result of having high blood pressure. The risk factors for developing heart ailments include age, genetics, smoking, having a poor diet, and alcohol and substance abuse.

If you’re in recovery and are currently coping with high blood pressure or heart disease, there are things that you can do to improve your health while working towards sobriety. Here’s a guide to better heart health during recovery.

Commit to your recovery.

Smoking and an unhealthy diet are some of the most common causes of heart disease, but substance abuse can also cause significant damage to your heart. Abusing cocaine, heroine, methamphetamine, GHD and LSD, among other illegal substances, can have a negative impact on cardiovascular health. Not only can these drugs cause abnormal heart rate, but they can even trigger a stroke, heart attack, or vascular disease.

Thankfully, research indicates that stopping drug use can reverse drug-related cases of heart damage, so it’s essential to commit to your recovery in order to prevent long-term cardiovascular problems. Learn to break addiction habits. Stay away from situations which may encourage you to do drugs. Get professional help. Making these commitments to your recovery can enable you to walk the path towards wellness. Taking steps towards a healthier lifestyle can, in turn, have a positive effect on your heart health.

Eat well.

Food is an essential part of the recovery process. But what you eat also matters if you want to improve your cardiovascular health. Some individuals in recovery turn to salty, fatty or sugary foods, since they can be comforting during stressful times. But too much unhealthy food can be detrimental to your overall wellbeing.

To improve your heart health, lower your blood sugar levels and stay at a healthy weight, increase your intake of leafy, green vegetables such as kale and spinach, which are loaded with antioxidants that can improve heart health and function. Other heart-friendly foods that you can consume include avocados, berries, walnuts, salmon, and whole grains. Fill your plate with these foods to lower blood pressure and lessen the risks of developing heart conditions.

Manage your stress levels.

Coping with addiction and working your way towards recovery can be challenging and even stressful at times, especially if you don’t get the support that you need from family and friends. Stress not only causes anxiety and depression, but it may also affect your heart health. Studies have shown that long-term stress can cause increased blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as spikes in blood sugar levels, leading to heart disease and other health conditions such as diabetes. This is why finding ways to cope with stress in a positive way should be a priority, whether you’re in a recovery center or healing at home.

Managing stress not only keeps your heart healthy, but it can also help you maintain lasting sobriety through the years. Mindful activities, such as yoga and meditation, are known to be powerful stress busters. Any kind of aerobic activity, such as swimming, cycling, hiking or running, also helps. Engaging in a creative hobby, such as painting, drawing, sculpting, coloring, knitting, woodworking, dancing or playing a musical instrument can also help to relieve stress. Find an artistic activity that you enjoy, and make time for it whenever you need a pick-me-up.

Living a healthy lifestyle and finding ways to manage stress can be the key towards heart health during recovery. Try these tips to improve your cardiovascular health while working towards your overall wellness. If you’re coping with a heart condition, consult a doctor for proper treatment and medication.

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