Waushara County Health News

Heart healthy lifestyle for Heart Health Month

 

Heart Disease, which includes Stroke and other Cardiovascular Diseases, is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. It is also one of the most preventable diseases. February is federally designated as American Heart Health Month. The purpose of Heart Health Month is to remind Americans to focus on their hearts and encourage them to get their families, friends and communities involved. The best way to look after your heart is with a healthy lifestyle.

Here are some tips to a heart healthy lifestyle:

Get regular health screenings: High blood pressure and cholesterol can damage your heart and blood vessels and increase your risk for developing Heart Disease. This is why it is important to get regular screenings so you know your numbers and can take appropriate action. The American Diabetes Association recommends starting screening at age 45, and then retesting every three years.

Be smoke and tobacco free: Smoking or using tobacco of any kind is one of the most significant risk factors for developing heart disease. Chemicals in tobacco can damage your heart and blood vessels, leading to narrowing of the arteries due to plaque buildup. This greatly increases the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Exercise: A minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity, 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both, is recommended. Physical activity helps control weight, cholesterol levels, diabetes, and in some cases, can help lower blood pressure.

Healthy diet: Eating a healthy diet can reduce your risk of heart disease. Aim to include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, low-fat or fat free dairy products, lean meats, and fish in your diet. Try to avoid too much sugar, salt, trans fat and saturated fat from your diet. Major sources of saturated fat include red meat, full-fat dairy products, and coconut and palm oils. Major sources of trans fat include deep-fried fast foods, bakery products, packaged snack foods, margarines, crackers, chips and cookies.

Sleep: People who don’t get enough sleep have a higher risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes and depression. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

Manage stress: Some people cope with stress in unhealthy ways like overeating, drinking or smoking. Some healthy alternative ways to manage stress include physical activity and relaxation or meditation techniques.

 

You can make a difference in the community by spreading these Heart Disease prevention strategies and encouraging people to live heart healthy lives.