Tuesday, February 03, 2015

How To Have A Healthy Heart

Cardiovascular Disease Leading Cause Of U.S. Deaths For Men and Women

Hearts are everywhere in the month of February, so take the time to think about your own heart and show it some love.
February is recognized as American Heart Month. Do your heart some good and learn about your risks for heart disease and stroke. Choose to become “heart healthy”.

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), cardiovascular disease (including heart disease, stroke & high blood pressure) is the leading cause of death in the United States for men and women.

Try these strategies for a healthier heart. Try not to become overwhelmed; every step brings you closer to a healthier heart. Every healthy choice can make a difference!!

Here are a few tips to help you to become “heart healthy”
  • Eat a healthy diet. Choosing healthier meal and snack options can help you avoid heart disease and its complications. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Eating foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in fiber can help prevent high blood cholesterol. Limiting salt or sodium in your diet can also lower your blood pressure.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for heart disease. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, healthcare providers often calculate a number called the body mass index (BMI). Sometimes your waist and hip measurements are used to measure your excess body fat.
  • Exercise regularly. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your cholesterol and blood pressure. It is suggested that adults should engage in moderate-intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes each day.
  • Don't smoke. Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease. So, if you don't smoke, don't start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for heart disease. Talk to your healthcare provider about ways you can quit smoking.
  • Limit alcohol use. Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can cause high blood pressure.
  • Have your cholesterol checked. Your health care provider should test your cholesterol levels at least once every five years. Talk with your healthcare provider about this simple blood test.
  • Monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure has no symptoms, so be sure to have it checked on a regular basis.
  • Manage your diabetes. If you have diabetes, closely monitor your blood sugar levels. Talk with your health care provider about treatment options.
  • Take your medicine. If you're taking medication to treat high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes, follow your healthcare provider's instructions carefully. Always ask questions if you don't understand something.
  • Talk with your health care provider. You and your healthcare provider can work together to prevent or treat the medical conditions that lead to heart disease. Discuss your treatment plan regularly and bring a list of questions to your appointments.

Know your signs and symptoms. Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, however, most heart attacks start slowly and you may only feel mild pain or discomfort. Many people aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:
·         Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
·         Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
·         Shortness of breath. May occur with or without chest discomfort.
·         Other signs. These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.

Physical activity in your daily life is an important step to preventing heart disease. You can take a few simple steps at home, at work, and at play to increase the amount of physical activity in your life.  Make A Date With Your Heart! Start taking steps to be heart-healthy.

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