Heart Disease is still the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women, so February is a month designated to raise awareness of heart disease. I thought we could offer tips on how to prevent heart disease in your own life and the lives of the ones you love.
The first thing you can do to help prevent heart disease is to know your risk factors. Risk factors for heart disease include:
- Having a family history of heart disease
- Being older than age 40
- Being post-menopausal
These risk factors are beyond our control- but there are other risk factors for heart disease that we can control and these risk factors include:
- Smoking- quitting smoking can reduce your risk for heart disease significantly and improve your life overall! It’s never too late to quit a bad habit.
- Managing stress in your life- it’s important to find healthy outlets for stress. Finding ways to reduce stress can lower your risk for heart disease.
- Physical inactivity and being overweight- dropping those few extra pounds can make a difference in preventing heart disease and exercise is a great way to deal with those stressful days we all experience.
- Eat a heart healthy diet- a diet low in sodium and trans fats.
- Know your cholesterol numbers- a general rule is your total cholesterol should be under 200.
- Control high blood pressure by visiting your doctor regularly and taking prescribed medications.
Taking care of your heart can add years to your life, so for this Valentine’s Day, give your valentine the gift of a healthy heart!