Health Is Where The Heart Is

Health Is Where The Heart Is

by Posted on: February 17, 2016Categories: LiveWell 24/7   

February is American Heart Month, a month intended to bring awareness to the number one cause of death among American men and women: cardiovascular disease, better known as CVD or heart disease. CVD results from plaque buildup in and hardening of the arteries, or the muscular tubes in your circulatory system that transport all blood from your heart to various parts of your body. When plaque buildup occurs in the arteries, it becomes increasingly difficult for blood to travel through, putting you at higher risk for blood clots, which can cause a stroke or heart attack.

American Heart Month is intended to increase awareness about risk factors that contribute to the development of CVD and lifestyle modifications that promote heart health. Here are just a few ways you can decrease your risk of heart attack and stroke.

  1. When preparing meals at home, decrease the amount of salt used in your recipes. Salt directly effects your blood pressure and can damage the inner lining of your blood vessels. Your plate should be brightly colored with plenty of fruits and vegetables seasoned with herbs and spices rather than salt. Visit the blog next week for heart-healthy recipe options!
  2. One habit that significantly contributes to atherosclerosis is smoking. Not only does smoking increase the likelihood for blood clotting and fatty buildup in the arteries, but it also hinders your ability to engage in regular physical activity. For more information about how you can quit smoking, visit the American Heart Association website.
  3. In order to strengthen your heart, it is important to get moving! Adults should engage in a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate cardio five days a week in addition to two days of strength training. If you find it difficult to lace up and head to the gym every day, attempt to incorporate fitness into your daily activities. Double your walking speed when you take your dog around the block, park a few minutes away from your office, or bring comfortable shoes to work for a lunchtime stroll with a coworker.
  4. Keep your physician updated with your personal and family health history. This can help you determine potential risk factors you should be aware of or medications to avoid. To keep track of your health history, utilize the Million Hearts Health Resume.
  5. Get your family on board with your heart-healthy behavior modifications. Not only will this prevent your personal development of heart disease, but it will help decrease the likelihood that your loved ones will suffer from a heart attack or stroke later in life.

Sources: Centers For Disease Control, American Heart Association, Million Hearts,  Union Medical

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