5 Ways to Prevent Heart Disease
American Heart Month: Heart Health Tips for Preventing Heart Disease
The number one cause of death for men and women is heart disease. The good news is that many of the major risks for heart disease can be prevented and controlled. The month of February is dedicated to raising awareness about heart disease and increase knowledge about prevention. Educate yourself today about the dangers of heart disease and how you can get on track to keeping your heart happy and healthy.
First, the scary news: Heart disease statistics
According to The Heart Foundation:
- Every 33 seconds someone in the US dies from cardiovascular disease
- More people die of heart disease than of AIDS and all cancers combined
- This year, more than 920,000 Americans will have a heart attack and almost half will occur without any warning signs or prior symptoms
- An estimated 80 million Americans have one or more types of heart disease
- By 2020, heart disease will be the leading cause of death throughout the world
Now, the good news. You can help to keep your heart beating healthy and strong with the five tips below.
- Stay active—exercise is great for your heart and one of the safest most effective ways to prevent and treat heart disease. Getting at least 30 minutes of daily exercise can help you lose weight, improve your cholesterol, and lower your blood pressure.
- Eat foods your heart will love—here are three foods you can eat to boost your heart’s strength:
- Oatmeal. Start your day with steel-cut oats (instead of instant) which are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and potassium. Oatmeal is rich in fiber which can lower levels of bad cholesterol and keep your arteries clear.
- Salmon. Wild salmon also contains those great omega-3s and healthy fatty acids. Salmon’s nutrients will boost your immune system, protect against heart attacks, reduce blood clots, and lower blood pressure.
- Berries. Have your pick of your favorite berries—blueberries, strawberries or raspberries. These juicy fruits are full of anti-inflammatories which reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer
- No butts about it: Don’t smoke! One of the most significant risk factors for developing heart disease is smoking or using tobacco. The chemicals found within tobacco can damage your heart and blood vessels, which leads to narrowing of the arteries. If you quit smoking, your risk of heart disease will drop drastically within just a year’s time.
- Drink in moderation—studies have shown that drinking two drinks or less a day for a man and one for a woman can help prevent heart attacks. Moderate your alcohol consumption—drinking a lot can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Don’t stress out—if you are stressed, it can have a bad effect on your blood lipids. Those super stressed out have been linked with a higher incidence of cardiac events. Try to relax and try meditation, breathing exercises, or yoga to keep you in a state of calm.
HOW CAN I HELP MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
Help your community lower risks of heart disease by spreading the word about strategies for prevention. Here are four ideas to help you take action today:
- Tweet about American Heart Month
- Add information about heart disease prevention tips to your work emails or on social media
- Take a stand against heart disease by bringing awareness to family, friends and co-workers by joining causes such as Go Red for Women or The Heart Truth
- Educate yourself by learning the risks of heart disease and how to prevent them then pass on your newfound life-saving information to those around you
Talk to a physical therapist at Above and Beyond about your heart health, getting your blood pressure checked, and setting up an exercise routine today!
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