American Heart Month

There seems to be a day, week, or month for just about everything, but American Heart Month is special. With heart disease on the rise, it remains the no. 1 cause of death in the US. As the vital, central organ pumping blood around your body, the heart is affected by so many things that keeping it healthy can feel like a full-time job. But there are lots of simple things you can do to protect it.

Starting Place

Where is a good place to start? While there are a lot of resources online, going to your physician for an annual physical is a great place to start. As with many endeavors, you’re not in this alone. Beyond your physician, The American Heart Association, Center for Disease Control (CDC), and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute are excellent resources to find out more and help out in your heart health journey.

Make small choices daily and commit to strengthening your heart. Your health will thank you.


Small Choices to Improve Your Heart Health

What are some of the choices or changes you can make to improve your heart health? First, you need to assess the risk factors associated with heart disease. Things such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol (especially LDL), smoking, diabetes, and stress management all come into play.

Do you fall into one or more of these categories? Is heart disease a part of your family history? Then lifestyle changes and small choices are even more important. While nutrition plays a vital role to heart health, exercise and emotional well-being affect your heart as well. Physical activity guidelines from the American Heart Association are a great resource, while the guidelines for nutrition and lifestyle changes may be just the thing you need to reinforce your good habits and keep your bad habits in check. Finally, well-being and mindfulness help with stress management that can also affect heart health. Commit to making a small change daily to improve your heart health. Over time they will all add up.

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4 Ways to Take Control of Your Health

What changes should you be making? You’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to your heart. This advice from the Center for Disease Control can help you be heart healthy at any age.

Don’t smoke. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, learn how to quit.

Manage conditions. Work with your health care team to manage conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This includes taking any prescribed medications. And if you need more info, learn more about preventing and managing high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Make heart-healthy eating changes.  Eat food low in trans-fat, saturated fat, added sugar, and sodium. Try to fill at least half of your plate with vegetables and fruits, and aim for low sodium options. Learn more about how to reduce sodium.

Stay active. Get moving for at least 150 minutes per week. You can even break up the 30-minutes into 10-minute blocks. Learn more about how to get enough physical activity.

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Always consult your physician or health professional for any concerns and recommendations for optimizing your health.
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