This February, doctors across the country are raising awareness for American Heart Month by educating the public on the importance of heart health. According to the CDC, as many as 720,000 Americans have a heart attack each year, nearly 30 percent of which are recurring. Moreover, Heart Disease is the number one killer of women and is deadlier than all forms of cancer combined. While these numbers continue to grow, the good news is that Heart Disease can be prevented by the lifestyle choices we make. Here are a few of the best ways to fight Cardiovascular disease.
Exercise is vital to your health. Not only does it help you maintain your weight, but getting regular exercise for 30 minutes a few times a week can help reduce your risk of fatal heart disease. It doesn’t have to be strenuous or formal: household chores such as walking the dog or mowing the lawn have the same benefits as working out in a gym.
Eat a Healthy Diet
A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help lower your risk for heart disease. Also, limiting your intake of certain fats is also important. The Mayo Clinic recommends keeping your saturated fats to no more than 10 percent of your daily calories. Major sources of saturated fat includes red meat and dairy products. Perhaps worse than saturated fat, trans fats––those fats often created artificially––should be avoided altogether. Examples of trans fat include deep fried fast foods, packaged snack foods and margarines.
Avoid using Tobacco Products
This may seem like a no brainer: the regular use of tobacco products significantly raises your chances of developing heart disease. Carbon monoxide found in cigarette smoke can replace some of the oxygen in your blood. Other chemicals can damage blood vessels, leading to a narrowing of the arteries, also known as atherosclerosis, which can lead to a heart attack. Even if you’re a longtime smoker, by quitting you are significantly reducing your chances of developing heart disease and in five years will be no more at risk than a nonsmoker.
See a Doctor Regularly
Even if you lead a healthy lifestyle, it is still a good idea to have your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked regularly. Healthy men and women should have their cholesterol checked as early as 35 and 45 years old, respectively. As diabetes is a risk factor for developing heart disease, you should also talk to your doctor about having a sugar-fasting diabetes screening. Depending on certain risk factors––being overweight or having a family history of diabetes––your doctor may recommend screenings at a younger age.
It’s never too early to start living a healthy lifestyle. By making healthy decisions, you are greatly reducing the risk. Support each other this month by educating others and spreading the word about Heart Disease. For more information about American Heart Month, contact Michigan Urgent Care today.