While you are out buying those heart boxes full of chocolate, chocolate roses and candy hearts, don’t forget that February is National Heart Health Month, and it is all about going red for women’s heart health.
Did you know that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States? Did you know that heart disease is the No.1 killer in women?
Sadly, most, if not all, of us know someone who has suffered a heart attack or stroke, but would you ever think it could happen to you?
Keeping your heart healthy is important for your quality of life, and there are many different ways that you can do it.
Learn your ABC’s in keeping your heart healthy:
Avoid tobacco, stress and high blood pressure.
- Cigarette smoking increases your risk for heart disease.
- Stress is a normal part of life. We all stress about something, but don’t let it get unmanageable. You can manage and reduce stress by relaxing at the end of every day, set realistic goals and expectations for yourself, get enough rest, eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
- High blood pressure can be lowered by eating a healthy diet, exercising and following your doctor’s instructions about your medications.
Be more active.
- Exercise regularly.
- Keeping your body at a healthy weight can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Try to fit in 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on most days of the week.
Choose good nutrition.
- Eat healthy for your heart.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Eating foods that are low in sodium. Too much sodium can increase your blood pressure.
- Limit foods with high amounts of saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol.
- Read food labels and be cautious of the foods you are eating.
Also, remember that heart disease is everyone’s problem, both men and women. Remember that talking with your doctor about your health and the possible risk level you have is equally as important as changing those bad habits. Is your heart pounding? Don’t know what to say to your doctor?
Don’t stress. Here are a few simple ways to get the conversation started.
- Be prepared. In advance, make a list of any concerns, questions and/ or symptoms you may have. Also, make a list of any medications you are taking. This way your doctor can address all your concerns.
- Tell your story. Make sure you tell your doctor about your diet, exercise, smoking and any other bad habits that you may have. Also, make sure to inform your doctor about family history of heart disease. If you are having symptoms, tell your doctor right away!
- Take notes. Make sure you write down any important information that your doctor tells you. For words you are unsure about, ask your doctor to further explain or write them down. Ask who to contact if you get home and have questions about your health.
- Ask questions. It is very important to ask as many questions as you can. You need to understand what exactly is going on in your body, how you can fix it or how you can prevent your risk of developing heart disease.
Remember a healthy heart is a healthy you. A few good choices can help you feel better, be healthier, and improve your quality of life. Love your heart.