Heart Healthy Tips for American Heart Month
Today marks the official start of American Heart Month, a time to remind our families and friends to engage in lifestyles that encourage heart health. Even though heart diseases are largely preventable, nearly 17.3 million Americans—or one person every 40 seconds—dies from a cardiovascular-related illness every year. That number is expected to rise to 23.6 million by 2030.
Heart disease is deadly because too many Americans are not aware of the risk factors, which include high blood pressure and high cholesterol. To promote greater cardiovascular health, Steward Health Care has compiled a list of five steps that you can take to strengthen your heart this month and beyond.
Regular physical activity can help reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure. Try taking walks in 15 to 30-minute intervals or lifting weights. When you build muscle, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood around your body, which can result in lower blood pressure.
Reduce Your Intake of Processed Foods:
Even small dietary changes can go a long way to helping you manage or prevent high blood pressure. We recommend preparing foods that contain less sodium, cutting down on red meat and processed meats, and reducing the amount of processed foods you consume. Instead of using salt, try flavoring your meals with herbs or other spices.
Smoking can have dramatic, although reversible, effects on your heart health. In just one year after quitting, your risk for coronary artery disease diminishes to half of that of a smoker’s. Within five to 15 years, your risk of stroke is the same as that of a non-smoker.
Know Your Blood Pressure:
Visit ManageYourBP.org to better understand your blood pressure numbers. If you have high blood pressure, knowing your numbers will help you take the necessary steps to maintain a heart health and reduce your risk of a stroke.
Schedule a Visit with Your Doctor:
From measuring your blood pressure to discussing family history, your doctor can help you understand your risk for heart disease. If you haven’t scheduled your annual appointment this year, you can visit Steward DoctorFinder™ or call 1-800-488-5959.
We encourage everyone to follow all of these steps, even if you just start out with one. That first step is the beginning of a commitment to strengthening your heart health.