February is Heart Health Month
February 2, 2021
Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in America? Since February is heart health month, it seems like the perfect time to take a quick look at risk factors and how we can work to combat those.
Know Your Risk Factors:
- Overweight or Obese
- Have High Blood Pressure (consistently above 120/80)
- Have High Cholesterol
- Have Diabetes
- Have Family History of Heart Disease
- Not Regularly Physically Active
- Had Preeclampsia During Pregnancy (for women)
- Are 55 or older for Women; 45 or older for Men
- Have Unhealthy Eating Habits
Any one of these, alone, is a risk factor for developing heart disease, but with each additional risk factor that you have, your chances increase. How then, can we combat this deadly killer? Making lifestyle adjustments is the first and most important thing to do. By incorporating some or all of the tips below, you can lower your chances of developing heart disease, while also improving your overall health!
Tips to Lead a Heart-Healthy Life:
- Get Regular Check-Ups – Make sure blood pressure and cholesterol are checked regularly.
- Eat Healthier – Load up on fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats while cutting down on processed foods, foods high in saturated and trans fats, high-sodium foods and foods with added sugars.
- Get Moving – Incorporate some kind of physical activity into every day. If you are new to exercise, simply start with a 15 minute walk each day.
- Keep a Healthy Weight – If you are overweight, work on starting to bring your weight down to a healthier range and then maintain that.
- Manage Stress – Try practicing different techniques to keep stress levels low. Deep breathing, meditation, counseling, and exercise are all great options!
- Get Quality Sleep – Getting good, sound sleep is crucial for good health. Aim for at least 8 hours a night and check out my earlier blog on sleep for helpful information and techniques.
- Stop Smoking – If you are a smoker, try a cessation program to help you kick the habit once and for all!