Let’s get straight to the heart of the matter–cardiovascular disease is a widespread epidemic in the United States, affecting one in every three people. Learn the facts, risks, and preventative measures you can take to create a healthier heart as we celebrate American Heart Month this February.
The ugly truth of heart disease:
• Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States
• 1 in 3 deaths is from heart disease or stroke
• Every 34 seconds, someone has a heart attack
• Every 4 minutes, someone dies from a stroke
IMPROVE YOUR HEART HEALTH:
1) Eat Your Heart Out
A heart-healthy diet includes plenty of vegetables, substitution of red meat for fish high in Omega 3 fish acids (such as salmon) or nuts, whole-grain foods like oatmeal or air-popped popcorn. In moderation, dark chocolate also has positive heart benefits by lowering bad cholesterol, reducing blood pressure, and even preventing blood clots. Also, less is more concerning salt and alcohol. Your daily sodium intake may creep up on you even if you don’t add salt if you eat food others prepare for you, like restaurants and prepackaged food.
2) Keep It in Check
Home blood pressure monitoring is essential for those with high blood pressure according to the American Heart Association. Don’t let this “silent killer” sneak up on you. By testing routinely at home, you can evaluate the effectiveness of your blood pressure medication and keep a record for your physician to review. It gives you a benchmark for what you are and whether/not the levels improve over time. Companies like Lambert’s sell blood pressure cuffs available in manual or digital settings.
3) Get Pumped
Exercise at least 30 minutes per day, several days each week. This gets your heart pumping, which improves circulation allowing for better oxygen flow, decreases blood pressure, and strengthens your heart. For mobility-challenged people, pedal exercisers are a great way to get their daily exercise without a risk of falling.
4) Say Yes
Say yes to talking with your physician about whether or not you are a good candidate to take a daily aspirin. Aspirin can help prevent the clotting of platelets in your blood, which helps reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke. Those who are at high risk or who have already had a heart attack or stroke are generally great candidates for this daily ritual.
5) Say No
Say no to smoking. A staggering 20% of all heart-related deaths are directly linked to smoking because of its impact on coronary heart disease. It’s never too late to quit, and the benefits extend into your whole body. Your lungs will perform better, your sense of taste and smell will improve, and you drastically improve the likelihood of extending the length of your life.
We *heart* all of our readers and hope that this helps you jump-start your journey to a healthy heart!