Did you know that the leading cause of death among both women and men is heart disease? That’s right – about 715,000 Americans have heart attacks each year and in the United States alone, heart disease is responsible for about 600,000 deaths annually.
But heart disease is preventable and controllable. That’s why February is American Heart Month – the month designated to raise awareness about small steps any individual can take to prevent heart attack and heart disease. With cardiovascular disease costing the United States $312.6 billion each year, the situation is very serious. You’re never too old or young to start taking better care of your heart. You can start by talking to friends and family and taking your own heart health seriously.
Here are five steps to increase and maintain better heart health:
#1: Eat a healthy diet.
Limit your consumption of foods that are high in sodium, saturated fat and trans fat. Replace unhealthy foods with a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. Other foods that are recommended for reducing your risk of heart disease include beans and certain types of fish.
#2: Maintain a healthy weight.
Those who are overweight or obese typically have a higher risk for heart disease. Take appropriate steps like maintaining a healthy diet and exercise plan to maintain a weight that is healthy for someone your height.
#3: Don’t smoke or use tobacco.
Even secondhand smoke poses a serious health hazard. The chemicals in tobacco cause damage to your heart and blood vessels, leading to narrowing of arteries that can eventually cause a heart attack. And nicotine makes your heart work harder by increasing heart rate and blood pressure and narrowing blood vessels. Tobacco use of any kind is one of the most significant risk factors for developing heart disease, so either quit immediately or make a vow to never start.
#4: Exercise regularly.
The Surgeon General recommends that adults should spend at least 30 minutes on exercise most days of the week. The physical activity will help maintain a healthy weight with lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
#5: Get regular health screenings.
Because high blood pressure and high cholesterol can damage your heart and blood vessels, it’s important to check your numbers regularly. Without regularly scheduled health screenings, you may not be aware of any issues. Ask your doctor to check your blood pressure, cholesterol and screen for diabetes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, someone in America has a coronary event every 25 seconds. Don’t allow yourself to be a statistic. Start taking steps toward a healthier life today. If you have any questions about your current heart health or steps you can take to improve your overall health, speak with a professional today. Just stop by [company_short] to receive personalized recommendations.