February is Heart Health Month
Heart disease can happen to anyone at any age. What used to be considered a health concern exclusively for older adults is now forging deep impacts across all ages. Frankly this is the product of our own lifestyle choices. Our modern lifestyle has resulted in less exercise, less healthy diets, and a desire for a quick fix solution. This creates the perfect environment for heart disease and its debilitating impacts to be felt in people in their 20s and older.
The good news with heart disease is that while there are some definite genetic predispositions, most of us can take proactive measures to protect ourselves from heart and cardiovascular disease . Read on to learn the risk factors, what you can do to keep your heart healthy, and for some resources on learning more about heart health. February is heart health month across North America and we urge you to share, Tweet, and email this post to your family, friends, and colleagues. Help yourself and others – take charge of your heart health today for a healthier tomorrow.
Heart Disease Risk Factors
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), high rates of obesity and high blood pressure among people aged 35 – 64 are putting them at high risk for heart disease early in life. The CDC stresses that half of all Americans are living with at least one of the top three risk factors for heart disease. Take the time to learn about these risk factors and think hard about your current lifestyle. Remember, your health and immune system are in your hands – keeping your body healthy and looking after your immune system can go a long way in keeping heart disease and cardiovascular risk factors under control.
- High blood pressure. High blood pressure is a dangerous condition that can be brought on by stress, obesity, lack of exercise, poor diet, and other genetic risk factors. Know your blood pressure and if it is high – take steps to get it under control.
- High cholesterol. So many Americans are living with high cholesterol – without even knowing it. Diabetes, obesity, lack of exercise, and a poor diet are all contributing factors to developing high cholesterol.
- Smoking. Smoking is not good for anyone – plain and simple. Along with contributing to lung and other cancers, smoking damages blood vessels, contributing to heart disease.
- Obesity. The more weight we carry, the more stress there is on the heart. With more than 1 in 3 American adults and 1 in 6 children aged 2 to 19 living with obesity – it’s time to make some lifestyle changes.
- Diabetes. Diabetes can cause sugar to accumulate in the blood, this causes damage to the blood vessels and nerves that control the heart muscle. If you have diabetes, ensure you’re doing everything you can to keep it under control and are following the healthy living guidelines provided to you by your healthcare team.
- Lack of physical activity. We don’t move as much as we used to. The days of walking or cycling to school, going for an evening walk, or participating in weekend sports are declining. Make sure you adhere to the CDC recommendations of a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. This is only five 30-minute walks or two 60-minute yoga classes and a short walk or five 30-minute swims at your local pool or five 30-minute games of tag, catch, ball, and hide and seek with your kids.
- Unhealthy eating. Because of our on the go society, many people turn to fast food, large restaurant portions, and frozen foods as their daily food choices. The high sodium levels in these foods has a direct correlation to increases in blood pressure and heart disease. Aim for five to seven servings of vegetables a day and look for easy recipes that you can batch cook on the weekend, setting you up for a week of homemade healthy eating.
Take Control of your Heart Health: Learn More and Spread the Word
Yes, we’re coming off strong here – this is because apart from genetic predispositions – your heart health is 100% in your hands. You have easy access to the resources and facts on heart disease and now it’s up to you to be proactive.