In February, we focus on our loved ones as we celebrate Valentine’s Day. We are surrounded by flowers and pink and red hearts. With all the talk of love and hearts, it’s a fitting month to take time to focus on our own heart as we observe American Heart Month. We use this month as a platform to raise awareness about heart disease and how to prevent it. It’s no longer just talking about heart disease, it’s more about taking charge and making commitments to improving our health.
Heart disease, such as coronary heart disease, heart attack, congestive heart failure, and congenital heart disease, is currently the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease. The good news is that heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions. You can make simple changes like using spices instead of salt on your food, eating more vegetables, or going for walks. The benefits of regular exercise are undeniable. Start with little things and those little things will make a big difference to your health.
Here are some additional tips. You can make healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease. To lower your risk:
- Watch your weight.
- Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
- Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
- If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Manage stress.
- Get active and eat healthy.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for heart disease, but if you find that you have been diagnosed with it, it can be manageable. It may seem overwhelming if you try to a make a lot of changes at once, so take things one step at a time. Make a plan and set realistic goals. With these steps to get healthy you can go on to live a full and productive life.