February is known as American Heart Month. It’s a good time to raise awareness about heart issues, such as heart disease and heart attacks. Because it is such an important issue that effects so many people, it is crucial to take steps to protect your heart. The statistics surrounding heart disease are astounding to stay the least. For example, in the time it takes you to read this blog post, there will probably be four people who have a coronary event and two people who die from one.
That’s right, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every 25 seconds someone in America has a coronary event, and every minute someone dies from one. In 2011 alone, there were 785,000 people in America who had a coronary heart attack. It is the leading cause of death in the country, for both men and women. The more you know about it, and what you can do to protect your heart, the better!
Heart disease is largely a problem of lifestyle. Sure, there can be a few hereditary and other factors thrown into the mix, but for the majority of people it simply comes down to the way we live our lives and the choices we make. Here are some things you can do to love your heart and protect it, so that it helps to protect you:
Get tested. Get a cholesterol test done to see what’s going on with your arteries. It will give you information about if your arteries are clean and clear or have a build up that can be of concern. Cut back, or avoid, those foods that will raise your cholesterol, such as meat and dairy products.
Eat healthy. While you may be able to get away with having some treats here and there, it is important that the majority of time you are reaching for healthy foods. This includes whole grains, lean sources of protein, and plenty of fruits and veggies. Also be sure to watch your sodium intake and keep alcohol to a minimum.
Get active. Even baby boomers today are joining gyms, working with personal trainers such as myself, and getting fit. Doing exercise and keeping physically active is a great way to help keep your heart healthy. Aim to get a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise each day of the week.
Avoid smoking. If you smoke, find a successful method for quitting. If you don’t, try to limit your exposure to secondhand smoke, which the CDC reports can trigger a heart attack.
When it comes to taking care of your body, you have to have heart. And getting a healthier heart, no matter what age you are now, is within reach. Don’t become a one of the statistics of people who have a heart attack. Instead, focus on what you can do to protect your heart, and start making steps every day toward achieving those goals!