February is traditionally the month for love and all things heart related. February is also American Heart Month which reminds us to take good care of our hearts and focus on our heart health. Did you know cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States? Every year, 1 in every 4 deaths is caused by heart disease – that is over 800,000 people in the U.S. alone.
Are you at risk?
Cardiovascular disease is the term used to encompass all types of diseases that affect the heart or blood vessels. Heart disease and the related diseases that go with it can happen at any age. High rates of obesity and high blood pressure among younger people (35-64) are putting them at risk for heart disease earlier in life. Are you at risk? Do you know what the top leading risk factors are? Half of all Americans have at least one risk factor.
The three main risk factors are high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking. Other conditions and risk factors that increase your risk include: obesity, diabetes, physical inactivity and unhealthy eating patterns. Luckily, there is a lot you can do to start living a heart healthy lifestyle. Think GO RED.
G: GET your numbers.
Go to your doctor and have your blood pressure and cholesterol checked.
O: OWN your lifestyle!
Start exercising. You should exercise 30-45 minutes each day and at least 2 of those days should be strengthening exercises. Change your eating habits. Start to eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean meat. Limit foods that are high in saturated fats and sodium as well as foods that are high in sugar/ other sweeteners. Stop smoking. The chemicals in tobacco harm our hearts and blood vessels. Pick a date to quit, tell your family and friends and quit together or ask for support. Schedule regular well appointments with your doctor. It’s your life…. OWN it!
R: RECOGNIZE your risk!
We all think it won’t happen to us!
Yourself, your family and others! Teach the importance of a healthy lifestyle!
D: DON’T be silent!
Tell everyone that heart disease is the number 1 cause of death in America and make sure those you love are informed so they can make the best choices for their health!