It’s and love is in the air in more ways than one. Everyone knows that February 14th is Valentine’s Day, but instead of eating a heart-shaped box of chocolates be heart smart and spend the month of February celebrating American Heart Month.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, but heart disease is both preventable and controllable. Although the topic of battling heart disease can appear to be overwhelming it doesn't have to be if there is a plan to prevention.
Know your numbers. Being aware of your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels is the first step. You have to know where your numbers are and know where these numbers need to be. Even if you do not have the tools or a resource to find out this information does not mean it gives you pass to not incorporate a healthier lifestyle.
There are few active steps you can do to help prevent heart disease and encourage friends and family members to join you on your journey to healthier life. According to Anne Albers, MD, an OhioHealth cardiologist, small changes are often more effective. “Something is better than nothing.”
If you smoke, stop, if you don’t smoke, avoid second-hand smoke. Not only will stopping smoking reduce the risk of heart disease, it will help lower your blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Simply put “If you want to live longer, stop smoking,” says Albers.
One way to help you quit smoking is to get up and get moving. According to the American Heart Association the heart-healthy benefits of exercising for just 30 minutes or taking 10,000 steps a day are nearly endless including keeping weight under control, manages high blood pressure, manages stress and reduces coronary heart disease by 30-40 percent just to name a few.
Many claim after working out they don’t want to put junk in their body and reverse all the hard work they have done. You don’t have to go vegan and be healthy, but you do want to cut down on processed foods which are normally high in sodium which contributes to high blood pressure. Try switching out one food you normally eat for something you make yourself or a healthier choice like a fruit of vegetable. Making these small substitutions over times can contribute drastic changes to your weight and overall health.
Remember, you don’t have to go at it alone. Share your plans to change your life for the better and encourage others to do the same. Inform others that this month is Nation Heart Month and wear red to increase awareness. Heart disease is the number one killer of women, so in doing so you can save your life and the lives of others.
How will you love your heart this month?