February is National Heart Month

Incorporate simple tactics into your lifestyle to reduce your risk of heart disease.

Being heart healthy is important for both men and women. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women even though it is preventable and controllable. Health experts recommend that you have a discussion with your doctor about being heart healthy. Your doctor can determine your heart health risks by reviewing your lifestyle habits, conducting cardio tests and reviewing both your health condition and family history. You and your doctor can then plan steps to take which can help you prevent or lower your risks of developing heart disease.

The CDC has a plan for preventing heart disease and managing any chronic medical condition which you may have. Supported by Michigan State University Extension, the plan includes developing healthy lifestyle habits which includes:

  • Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables which can reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. Lower your blood pressure by limiting salt, avoiding foods high in cholesterol, saturated and trans fat, which can raise the LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight, since excessive body weight can increase your risk of developing heart disease.
  • Exercising regularly can help you maintain a healthy weight.
  • Monitor your blood pressure; high blood pressure is called the silent killer which makes it important to check your blood pressure regularly.
  • Don’t smoke; cigarette smokers are two to four times likely to develop heart diseases than non-smokers.
  • Limit alcohol use, since excessive alcohol can increase your health risks.
  • Manage your diabetes; it is important to work with your health care provider in managing your diabetes, this will control other health risks.
  • Have your cholesterol checked; having high cholesterol puts you at risk for having heart disease.
  • Take your medicine; taking your medicine routinely and as instructed is very important in managing chronic disease and your health.

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