February is the month for heart-shaped candy boxes and also the month that reminds us to take care of our heart—it’s American Heart Month!
With heart disease being the leading cause of deaths in the United States, it’s key to stay informed. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year—that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. Is there something you can do to help prevent or minimize the risk of getting heart disease? Yes, there is and it starts by becoming more informed about heart disease and how to prevent it. This can lead to a healthier, more vibrant life.
What Is Heart Disease?
Cardiovascular disease, or heart disease, refers to several conditions involving the heart and blood vessels. This includes heart attack, stroke, heart failure, arrhythmia, and heart valve problems.
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institute of Health, coronary heart disease is the main form of heart disease and is a disorder of the heart blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack. Heart attacks occur due to arteries becoming blocked, making it difficult for oxygen and nutrients to reach the heart.
Facts About Heart Disease
- Heart disease is a lifelong condition – once you get it, you’ll always have it, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. While procedures such as a bypass surgery can help blood and oxygen flow more easily, it’s not a cure. The arteries after bypass surgery remain damaged.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease,
- Additional risk factors identified by the American Heart Association include physical inactivity, nutrition, obesity, and diabetes.
Helping to prevent heart disease includes staying physically active, eating healthy, staying informed and keeping up to date with your health check-ups.
Go For A Walk
If you think you have to get in hours of exercise in a day to help, think again! Research has shown that walking at least 30 minutes a day can help reduce your risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, improve your blood pressure and help maintain your body weight.Walking has proven to be the activity with the lowest dropout rate of all forms of exercise. So, grab your sneakers, and a friend or neighbor, and hit the pavement!
Be picky about the foods you eat. Reach for healthy meal and snack options such as fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid processed foods that can be high in sodium. Drink lots of water! Staying hydrated helps your heart pump more easily. When you are dehydrated, your blood volume decreases and your heart has to compensate by pumping faster.
Stay in the know when it comes to your health. Track your numbers for cholesterol and blood pressure when visiting your doctor and ask what they mean. Create a list of questions for yourself so you remember what to ask at your next visit.
For more information about services available at Prowers Medical Center and how you can prevent heart disease, call 719-336-6731. Or schedule an appointment with your primary care provider by calling 719-336-6767.