February is American Heart Month – Take the Steps Today to Maintain Good Heart Health
February has been recognized as American Heart Month in the U.S. since 1963 in order to urge Americans to join the battle against cardiovascular diseases. According to the American Heart Association, more than one in three women has a form of cardiovascular disease. And, heart disease is the leading cause of hospital stays for men in the United States. While there are risk factors that contribute to heart disease that you can’t control, there are many things you can do to maintain your heart health. During this month of February, we encourage you to take the steps today to maintain good heart health.
Risk Factors for heart disease that you can control:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Overweight or obese
- Having a waist measurement greater than 40 inches or more (men) or 35 inches or more (women)
- Inactive lifestyle
- Type 2 diabetes
- Poor diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol
Tips to take control of your risks:
- Do not smoke or use illegal drugs.
- Drink alcohol in moderation.
- Maintain a healthy weight and get regular exercise.
- Take a low-dose of aspirin daily (consult your doctor first though).
- Follow a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet.
- Limit your sodium intake to 1,500 to 2,400 milligrams per day.
- Keep stress under control.
- Get regular medical checkups with your primary care physician and get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked regularly.
Combining regular physical activity with a healthy diet, adequate sleep, effective stress management and avoidance of tobacco slashes your risk of heart disease and premature death dramatically.