Februray is American Heart Month-an annual awareness campaign serving as a reminder that it's never too early to take action to protect our heart health.
Each year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease and people worldwide are losing their mothers, fathers, siblings, and beloved friends to this devastating, yet preventable epidemic
How You Can Help Spread the Word
As with anything, the more something is talked about, the more people tend to fixate on the topic at hand.
We can use this month to help spread the word about heart disease both in our homes, at work, and to anyone else who will listen.
Ideas to Help Raise Awareness:
- Start making small changes within your own home, like having more fresh fruit and vegetables in the refrigerator and less potato chip options in the pantry. Try cooking with spices rather than salt.
- Get involved with your kids/grandkids’ schools and speak with administrators and teachers about making physical activity a part of the school day if it’s not already. This can help our kids start good habits early.
- Find out if any doctors or nurses are holding any educational speeches within the community and encourage family, friends, and co-workers to attend the event with you.
6 Tips to Help Lower Your Risk for Heart Disease
Various health conditions, family history, age and lifestyle factors can increase your risk for heart disease. Although we cannot control risk factors like family history and age, we can take steps to lower our risk by changing factors we can control:
1. Make blood pressure control your goal- uncontrolled high blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. High blood pressure often shows no signs or symptoms, but today it is easier than ever to get your blood pressure checked; and make simple lifestyle changes to keep your blood pressure at the numbers both you and your doctor want to see.
2. Be the master of your scale- carrying excess weight, puts more pressure on our heart muscle to work harder. Losing the extra weight helps alleviate strain on our heart while also helping to lower high blood pressure and manage diabetes.
3. Manage stress, don’t let stress manage you- stress is a part of life, and it’s normal to have stress or anger flare-ups every now and then, but too much stress can lead to a variety of health problems, including high blood pressure. Rather than choosing unhealthy ways of dealing with stress like smoking or drinking in excess; try finding healthy ways to manage everyday stress:
- Going for long walks
- Taking exercise classes at your gym
4. Increase your steps each day- get active and stay active. Those who don’t exercise are more likely to develop heart disease and possibly die from it than those who are active.
5. Stay loyal to your heart-healthy diet – eat more of a plant- based diet and avoid foods high in saturated fats and cholesterol. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and other plant-based foods are good for cholesterol, and give you vitamins the natural way, from foods.
6. Quit Smoking- if you smoke, you are more than twice as likely to have a heart attack as nonsmokers, and you’re much more likely to die if you do have a heart attack. If having difficulty quitting, your doctor can give you many options to help stop smoking.