February is American Heart Month. Now is the perfect time for us to discuss the heart, and take some necessary steps to prevent heart disease.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the US for both women and men. Here are a few things that put you at greater risk of heart disease, and what you can do to take control and become healthier.
Smoking damages the blood vessels and can lead to cardiovascular disease. It is the leading cause of preventable death in the US. Find a powerful personal motivation to quit. If you need help to quit smoking see a healthcare provider for assistance. Support is a vital part of quitting smoking.
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE / HIGH CHOLESTEROL
Make a conscious decision to eat a heart-healthy diet by eating more vegetables and fruits. Avoid processed foods that are loaded with sodium, saturated fats, and sugar.
Get moving! Since this is the colder time of the year, I often tell my patients to do the "commercial challenge". If you enjoy the Lifetime channel, you know there are plenty of commercials. I encourage you to stand during every commercial and be active. Do jumping jacks, lunges, squats or whatever it takes to get your heart rate up. Make it a game with the family.
Let's all join the American Heart Association on Friday February 7, 2020 and wear red to help bring awareness about heart disease. Here's to making 2020 the year of a healthier heart.
Marie Ford, East Memphis Direct Primary Care APRN, FNP-BC
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