Did you know that heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States? It is also 90% preventable with a good diet, regular exercise, and other healthy lifestyle choices.
Since February is designated as American Heart Health Month, we wanted to share heart health tips to raise awareness about heart disease and advocate for better cardiovascular health.
This month is a great time to focus on ways to improve your heart health. We’ll be sharing five helpful tips that will help you stay healthy and reduce your risk of heart disease. But first, some facts about heart disease.
Heart Health Fast Facts
- Diet soda is a significant contributor to heart attacks. “Zero sugar” drinks are not always a good thing. Drinks like soda that use artificial sweeteners can increase your risk of having a heart attack by almost 45%! That’s compared to people who don’t drink regular soda or zero soda.
- People may not know they’re having or had a heart attack. Despite its representation in TV or movies, a heart attack is not always painful or comes with left arm pain. In fact, 1 in 5 heart attacks happen without the person ever realizing they had one.
- Women under 50 years old are 2x likely to die from a heart attack as men. Women, in general, experience heart disease differently and more severely than men. Women have different hormones and smaller arteries, so heart disease can affect them more frequently and earlier than men.
5 Tips for Preventing Heart Disease
Preventing heart disease is your best bet to living a long and healthy life free of heart attacks, high blood pressure, or other heart problems. Here are some ways to ensure a healthy heart and improve your health overall.
1) Don’t Smoke Tobacco
Smoking is a major contributor to heart disease. Smoking can cause plaque buildup in your arteries and increase your blood pressure, making you more likely to have a stroke or heart attack. We know it’s hard to quit smoking, but the benefits of doing so are immediate and long-lasting.
If you need help quitting tobacco products, check out these resources for support and help to finally kick the habit.
2) Stress Management
Chronic stress is bad for your heart health. When you’re stressed, your body releases hormones like cortisol that can damage your arteries and increase your blood pressure. It’s essential to find ways to manage your stress, so it doesn’t take a toll on your cardiovascular health.
Some great ways to reduce stress include exercise, yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises. If you find that your stress is too much to manage on your own, consider talking to a therapist or counselor who can help you learn better ways to cope.
3) Heart-Healthy Diet
What you put in your body directly affects your heart health. Eating healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein is great for your heart because they’re low in saturated fat and sodium but high in nutrients.
Avoid processed foods containing added sugars, sodium, or trans fats, which can increase inflammation and contribute to heart disease. Instead, focus on meals high in fiber and antioxidants, which can protect your heart from damage.
Check out these foods that can help lower blood pressure and manage other health conditions like diabetes.
4) Move For At Least 20 Minutes a Day
Exercise is a key component of heart health. Physical activity can help lower your blood pressure, increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels and reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity for adults per week. They’ve shared some examples of what that means and how to get the whole family on board!
5) Get Good Sleep
Good quality sleep is vital for overall health. Poor sleep can also lead to insulin resistance which severely affects how well diabetes can be controlled. Some tips for getting good sleep include exercising regularly, drinking plenty of water, avoiding caffeine late in the day, and keeping a consistent sleep schedule.
Maintaining a Consistent, Healthy Lifestyle
It can be hard to get started with any lifestyle change, but your heart health is worth it. For people struggling to find ways to stay healthy and improve their heart health, especially those with diabetes, feel free to contact Pops Diabetes or check out our blog for more health tips and tricks.
And keep spreading the word about heart health during American Heart Month through the end of February, and always!