American Heart Month: Taking Charge of Your Heart Health

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One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. February is American Heart Awareness month, so it’s a great time to take charge of your heart health.

If you want to live a long and active life, developing a heart-healthy lifestyle should be a priority. Whether you’re 25 or 75, you can enhance your cardiovascular health with some simple changes and some basic knowledge about your health.

Stop smoking

Everyone knows smoking and vaping are bad for your health. If you’re a smoker, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your health.

Within 20 minutes of quitting, your heart rate and blood pressure recover from nicotine-induced spikes, according to the American Heart Association. And, one year after quitting, your risk for heart disease is reduced by 50 percent. Plus, if you’re a pack-a-day smoker, quitting will put more than $2,200 per year back in your pocket. Cha-ching!

Talk to your doctor for help or try these 5 steps for stopping smoking.

Get moving

Exercising for as little as 20 minutes a day will help you maintain an active lifestyle and decrease your chances of dying from cardiovascular disease. Moderate-intensity activity helps you maintain a healthy weight, lowers cholesterol and helps lower your blood pressure.

Moderate intensity exercise doesn’t require a gym membership. You can reap plenty of benefits from walking at a good clip. If you sit for long periods during the day, take 5-minute walk breaks every couple of hours to get your blood pumping.

Your heart is like any other muscle in your body. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.

Eat more vegetables and fruit

Fast-food cheeseburgers and french fries may taste great, but they aren’t the best choice for your heart, at least not regularly.

Many doctors recommend the Mediterranean diet for its heart-healthy benefits. This delicious and nutritious way of eating is based on the traditional foods eaten by people in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

With the Mediterranean diet, you can enjoy a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and healthy fats. You can occasionally have dairy, eggs, and poultry, but you should rarely eat processed foods, added sugar, refined grains, and red meat.

You can find plenty of flavorful Mediterranean diet recipes online for inspiration.

Get more sleep

Sleep is restorative. It’s vital to your overall health and wellbeing. According to the American Heart Association, skimping on sleep increases your risk for heart disease no matter your age, weight, or other health factors.

Lack of sleep is associated with obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attack, and stroke.

Make sleep a priority by aiming for seven to nine hours each night.

Take care of your teeth

Your oral health and heart health are connected, so taking good care of your teeth and gums is essential.

Studies have shown that the bacteria that cause gum disease can move into your bloodstream and cause an elevation in your C-reactive protein (CRP) level. CRP is an inflammation marker used to help assess your risk for heart disease.

The best way to take care of your oral health is to brush your teeth and gums twice daily, floss nightly, and don’t skip your professional dental checkups and cleanings.

Know your numbers

Knowledge is critical in reducing your heart disease risk. Your blood pressure, cholesterol levels (HDL and LDL), triglycerides, fasting glucose, and waist circumference are vital to your overall heart health.

If you don’t know your numbers, schedule an appointment with your doctor and ask him to perform the tests.

Bottom line

Heart disease can affect anyone at any age. Poor eating habits and sedentary lifestyles have contributed to higher disease rates among all age groups.

Take control of your heart health today so you can enjoy life to the fullest for decades to come.

READ NEXT: Improve Your Sleep: 7 Ideas for Creating a Relaxing Bedtime Routine

By |2022-02-22T13:07:28-06:00February 21st, 2022|Featured, Health & Wellbeing|Comments Off on American Heart Month: Taking Charge of Your Heart HealthBack to Home|

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