We might be wrapping up February and Heart Health Month, but it’s still a good time to remind ourselves of some super heart healthy lifestyle choices because every month should be Heart Health Month. Did you know that nearly half of heart disease related deaths are due to controllable risk factors? Here are some activities of the super heart healthy:
Avoiding tobacco products, particularly cigarettes, is a good habit for the super heart healthy. Smoking significantly increases the risk of heart disease and nearly 30% of all heart disease deaths in the US are attributed to cigarette smoking every year.
Measuring your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and weight is critical to stay in control of your heart health. High blood pressure is actually the leading cause of death globally, and the most significant modifiable risk factor for heart disease. Systolic blood pressure under <120 mm Hg is better for preventing heart disease according to recent studies, but you should talk to your doctor about what your blood pressure should be.
Increased weight and BMI are associated with an increased risk for heart disease.
Healthy diets, with large numbers of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seafood, legumes, and nonfat dairy goodness are all part of a balanced diet and a good alternative to fad dieting. Aim for color in your foods! Colorful fruits and veggies are high in antioxidants which help protect blood vessels and arteries from damage caused by high cholesterol and blood pressure.
Staying physically active, even for short spurts every week, is associated with lower risk of heart disease. The more you move the healthier your heart could be! But be careful, weekend warriors can get injured easily. Jumping into exercise without preparation can be dangerous so grab a class with a professional.
Our personal favorite activity but sleeping is also linked to lowering the risk of heart disease. Also snoring could be a sign of sleep apnea, a disorder where your breathing is interrupted during sleep and your blood pressure goes through the roof. The condition is more common than you might think, 18 million American adults have sleep apnea which is tied to their increased risk of heart disease.
Staying hydrated helps your heart pump blood more easily through your blood vessels and to your muscles. This helps your muscles work more efficiently!
The health of your teeth is a good indication of your overall health, including the health of your heart. Those who have gum disease, often have the same risk factors for heart disease. Studies have also shown that bacteria that can gum disease can move into your blood and cause protein elevation which inflames blood vessels. You might have to deal with more than cavities if you’re not busy fighting gum disease.
Chronic stress exposes your body to high levels of adrenaline and cortisol which can put you at higher risk for a heart attack or stroke. Try doing something that will make you laugh! Laughter lowers stress hormones and reduces arterial inflammation.
Family history can unlock many mysteries of risk factors and higher rates of susceptibility to disease. Knowing your family history can help you figure out what to watch out for and avoid to lower your risk of heart disease.
Spring is around the corner and we’re excited to celebrate every step you take towards a healthier heart!