February is American Heart Month. Heart disease is prevalent – it’s also very treatable!
Ways to improve your heart health include:
- Eat a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables and lean protein (chicken, eggs, fish)
- Nutrient-rich foods have minerals, protein, and other things your body needs but are lower in calories. They help you control your weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish can help reduce the risk of heart failure, coronary heart disease, cardiac arrest, and stroke.
- Exercise 5-6 times per week (yes, shoveling counts!)
- Eating healthy and staying active are some of the most important things you can do to prevent heart disease. Exercise can help lower your blood pressure, boost your levels of good cholesterol, improve blood circulation and keep your weight under control. Walking is one of the simplest ways to get active and stay active.
- Avoid smoking
- You probably know about the relationship between smoking and lung cancer, but did you know that smoking is also linked to heart disease, stroke, and other chronic diseases? Almost one-third of deaths from heart disease are due to smoking and secondhand smoke.
- Decrease stress levels
- Exercising, maintaining a positive attitude, not smoking, enjoying a healthy diet, and maintaining a healthy weight are good ways to deal with stress.
- Check blood pressure and cholesterol
- Learn what your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers mean. The only way to know if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol is to check them regularly. Have a conversation with your PCP about how to control or manage your blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Sleep 8-10 hours per night
- Sleep is critical to good health. It helps your body repair itself and helps you function normally during the day. Over time, sleep problems such as sleep apnea can hurt your heart health. Sleep apnea affects how much oxygen your body gets while you sleep and increases the risk for health problems, including high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.