Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. February is “American Heart Month”. Take the time to learn about heart healthy habits to also help improve brain and blood vessel health and reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and Type II Diabetes.
- If you smoke, STOP! Smoking causes a variety of Cancers and COPD. It also damages blood vessels which can lead to high blood pressure, strokes, heart attacks and kidney disease.
- Exercise at least 30 minutes daily most days of the week. Walking is a great way to start, it’s easy to do and inexpensive. Call your doctor or health care provider before beginning any exercise program.
- Eat a healthy diet that includes lean proteins, fresh organic produce (vegetables and fruits), whole grains and low in saturated fat, salt and sugar. Try to incorporate healthy monounsaturated fats in your diet such as olive oil. Following a Mediterranean diet is generally considered a heart healthy diet.
- Maintain a healthy weight for your height and frame size.
- Monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure damages blood vessels setting the stage for heart attacks, strokes and kidney disease.
- Alcohol: Consider not drinking alcohol but if you choose to drink, do so only in moderation. Alcohol can cause heart rhythm disturbances. It also damages the heart, brain and liver and leads to high blood pressure.
- Talk to your doctor about fish oil and low dose aspirin therapy to see if these are right for you.
- If you have existing heart or cardiovascular disease, follow your doctor or nurse practitioner’s orders regarding medication usage, appointment follow ups and all other advice he or she gives you.
*Contact your physician or health care provider for any questions or concerns you may have about your health.