Get Heart Healthy – February is Heart Health Month!

HEART HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH


In honor of Heart Health month, I have decided to dedicate this blog post to Heart Health Awareness and to ways of getting heart healthy.

Heart.org, the website for the American Heart Association has the best resources of information for those interested in learning more about heart health.

The following seven guidelines for getting heart healthy are a part of the American Heart Association’s “Life’s Simple 7.”  I have just provided a short summary of each guideline. To access the page with the complete information, head to: http://mylifecheck.heart.org/Multitab.aspx?NavID=12&CultureCode=en-US

Get Active – According to the AHA, getting just 30 minutes each day can reduce a person’s risk of heart disease.  Physical activity also helps to lower blood pressure, increase good cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, reduce feelings of stress, control body weight and make a person feel good about themselves.  The AHA recommends at least 150 minutes of exercise per week.

Control Cholesterol – Too much of LDL, also known as, “bad cholesterol” circulates in the blood, arteries can become clogged, which increases a person’s risk of heart attack and stroke.  Although the body produces some LDL cholesterol naturally, saturated fat, trans fats, and dietary cholesterol can also increase a person’s cholesterol intake. The AHA recommends cutting out trans fats and limiting foods with saturated fat and cholesterol.

Eat Better – Eating healthy is one of the best ways to protect the heart.  The AHA recommends nutrient-rich foods that are low in calories, such as vegetables and fruits.  Unrefined whole-grain foods are excellent choices, and the AHA also recommends eating fish at least twice a week.  Eating oily fish containing omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, trout, and herring may lower risk of death from coronary artery disease.  Lean meats and poultry without skin as well as fat-free and low-fat dairy products are also smart choices.  Try to avoid foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans fats and try to steer clear of salt.

Manage Blood Pressure – High blood pressure is the “single most significant risk factor for heart disease” (AHA, 2011). Because of this and the fact that it has no symptoms, it is sometimes called “the silent killer.” Shockingly, one in three adults have high blood pressure.  To reduce blood pressure, eat healthy, maintain a healthy weight, manage stress, exercise, limit alcohol, and avoid tobacco smoke.

Reduce Blood Sugar – According to the AHA, diabetes is one of the six major controllable risk factors when it comes to heart disease.  Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease or a stroke.  The AHA recommends that people with diabetes have regular check-ups and work closely with their doctors to manage diabetes and control any other risk factors for heart disease.

Stop Smoking – As the AHA (2011) best puts it “Smoking is the most important preventable cause of premature death in the United States.”  Smokers are at higher risk of getting buildup of fatty substances in their arteries.  This condition, called atherosclerosis, can lead to CAD, heart attack, and stroke.  Smoking decreases a tolerance for physical activity and increases the chance of blood clots; it also decreases good cholesterol, Smoking creates a higher risk for peripheral artery disease and aortic aneurysms.  It increases the risk of recurrent coronary heart disease after a bypass surgery.

All information above can be found at http://www.heart.org.

Also, all clip art images can be found at http://office.microsoft.cm/en-us/images/

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