-The Community Health Team-
February is American Heart Month, an initiative targeted at preventing heart disease lead by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and The Heart Truth. Since Heart Disease is the leading cause of death in America, we think it’s essential to do our best to help make the number of those suffering from Heart Disease smaller. The best way to do that, is through prevention. So, we offer 5 tips below on how to adopt a healthy lifestyle and prevent Heart Disease.
Exercising regularly can keep your heart healthy. After all, your heart is a muscle. So, working it out will help keep it strong.
Remember: You don’t have to be an Olympic Athlete, or Fitness Fanatic. You can take simple steps, and even integrate physical activity into your regular daily life. This can mean going for walks around the neighborhood, stretching while watching TV, or going to a local gym.
Eat Healthy = Heart Healthy
Diet plays a big role in overall health, and heart health especially. High cholesterol is an issue in and of itself, but it can plug up your heart’s arteries. Obesity is its own issue as well, yet that can weigh on the heart as well.
There’s many techniques to eat healthy, from low-carb to organic foods, and limiting portion sizes to intermittent fasting. Everyone’s body — and heart — are different, which means different eating habits will work better for different people. The Mayo Clinic offers some tips on heart-health eating here:
- Control your portion size
- If you make a big plate, you’ll probably eat it all. Try making a smaller plate and see if you’re full after.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Replace your sweet tooth with fresh, tasty fruits.
- Select whole grains
- Whole grain bread for sandwiches, and use quinoa instead of rice.
- Limit unhealthy fats
- Less fried foods and butter.
- Choose low-fat protein sources
- More chicken and fish, less beef.
- Reduce the sodium in your food
- Put less salt on your food, and read how much sodium there is on the nutrition labels.
- Plan ahead: create daily menus
- When you already plan and buy the food, it’s harder to veer off-course.
- Allow yourself an occasional treat
- Restricting yourself entirely from indulgence is not human. Enjoy yourself, just do it in moderation.
Quitting smoking will provide many benefits to heart health. Smoking increases the buildup of plaque in arteries, and can increase risk of blood clot — in turn increasing risk of heart attack. Smoking also decreases oxygen in the blood, increasing risk of other cardiovascular issues like stroke.
Research also indicates that smoking increases heart rate, tightens major arteries, and can induce irregular heartbeats. These factors cause stress on the heart.
When smokers quit, results are recognizable within 12 hours.
Keep Your Blood Pressure Down
High blood pressure strains arteries, and thus strains the heart. It also increases risk of heart attack and other major complications. The good news is, many of the tips that help heart health also help lower blood pressure.
One key tip is to lower stress levels. While there are many ways to achieve this, one popular way is through mindfulness or meditation. You don’t have to become a Zen Expert — simply taking the time to take deep breaths and relax in the quiet can offer meditative benefits.
Visit the Doctor
Getting regular checkups, otherwise known as primary care or preventative care, can greatly reduce your chance of health complications, including Heart Disease. By coming in regularly, doctors can monitor risk factors like blood pressure, obesity, heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and more. By monitoring these factors, doctors can help you prevent big issues by addressing them early when they’re small.
If you have any questions about the above article, feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org — our team is happy to help you understand health and get the care you need.