February is American Heart Month. This marks a time to learn how to take steps towards a healthier lifestyle for heart health. Did you know the #1 killer of women in America is Heart Disease? That is more than all cancers combined! Did you also know that 1 in every $6 in US healthcare spending is spent on cardiovascular disease each year?
Cardiovascular diseases have many risk factors, many of which can be prevented with a heart
- Exercise—Aerobic exercise not only decreases risks for heart disease, but improves mental
and physical health. Five 30 minute sessions a week is recommended. This can even be broken
into three 10 minute sessions a day! Pick your favorite activity such as walking, biking,
swimming, or dancing. Even making small changes such as taking the stairs or parking in the
back of the parking lot will add in more steps and be beneficial.
- Diet—Eating a heart healthy diet can be easier than you think! Packed full with delicious
options such as fish, nuts, and high fiber produce, the heart healthy diet helps reduce the risk of
atherosclerosis and decrease added sugar and trans fat. This can help with weight loss,
decreasing blood pressure, and improving digestion. Another important part of the heart
healthy diet is to control your portion size. Learn to read nutrition labels to properly control
intake. Following a meal plan and learning to understand ingredients on the back of your food
boxes is a great step to better learn how to improve your health.
- Smoking—Smokers have a higher risk of developing many different chronic disorders,
including atherosclerosis, and when combined with other heart disease risk factors, the risk
factors for heart disease drastically increases.
- Regular Check-Ups—Go to regular check-ups and having your blood pressure, cholesterol,
weight, and labs checked. All of these when elevated, can cause increased risk factors for Heart
Disease. By keeping track of your numbers and how they trend, you can work with your care
provider to set appropriate goals to stay on track with your health.
- Diabetes Screening—Untreated and uncontrolled diabetes can lead to heart disease, among
many other complications. This is easily checked through simple blood tests and can be
managed through diet, medication, and lifestyle.
Through proper diet changes and monitoring your health closely, a heart healthy lifestyle is very
attainable. Let our Wellness staff help you form a plan to help with your diet and exercise
routine and provide useful education to continue to work toward a healthier lifestyle for heart health!