February is observed as American Heart Month to promote cardiovascular health and spread awareness about heart disease. This American Heart Month, pay attention to the condition of your heart and take good care of it all through the year.
Heart disease is the primary reason for deaths in America, taking 1 in 4 lives every year. However, it’s mostly preventable through healthy lifestyle changes and overall health management. Read on to learn what factors are most likely to contribute to heart diseases and how to prevent it.
What Are the Risk Factors for Heart Disease?
Some conditions or habits make you more susceptible to developing heart disease and may increase the chances of an existing condition to become worse. Significant risk factors responsible for heart disease include:
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
- Unhealthy lifestyle
- Being overweight or obesity
- Diabetes and prediabetes
- Lack of physical activity
- Genetic predisposition
- Unhealthy diet
You can make healthy lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of acquiring heart disease.
Tips to Maintain a Healthy Heart
American Heart Month 2019 is an excellent time to start taking steps to reduce your risk of heart disease. Take care of your heart health and prevent heart diseases by following these tips.
Eat Healthy Foods
Eat foods that have low saturated and trans fat, low cholesterol and high fiber to help check high cholesterol. Restrict salt (sodium) and sugar intake in your diet to control your blood pressure and blood sugar levels respectively.
Stay Physically Active
Exercise daily with a minimum of 30 minutes of light exercise, along with moderate to high-intensity exercises twice a week to maintain a healthy weight and lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar levels. This can include brisk walking, jogging, hiking, cycling, and more.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight or obese escalates your risk for heart disease. To check if your weight falls within a healthy range, doctors will work out your body mass index (BMI). They may use specific tools to calculate extra body fat and hydration level.
Quit Smoking and Limit Alcohol
Regardless of your age, you should quit smoking tobacco and limit your alcohol consumption. Tobacco and heavy alcohol intake are believed to cause cancers and chronic illnesses that may lead to death.
Monitor Heart Health
Schedule routine medical checkups with your healthcare practitioner to monitor vital signs and symptoms for any potential diseases. Set goals to enhance your heart health and make sure to take all the medication prescribed by your doctor on time.
Manage Your Stress
Stress can affect both mind and body, and excessive mental stress has been linked to cardiovascular diseases (CVD). You may consider keeping up with one or many stress-relieving activities like volunteering, yoga, meditation, exercise, to distress yourself and maintain your heart health.
In addition to looking after your own heart health, encourage your family and friends to live heart-healthy lives. Visit our health care center today to learn how you can reduce or prevent the risk of heart disease.