February brings us Valentine’s Day, an annual ritual for lovers everywhere, dedicated to matters of the heart. But in a very different way, the entire month is devoted to matters of the heart designed to keep us healthy and alive. It’s American Hearth Month, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has outlined 7 Strategies to Live a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle.
Here are some tips from the CDC and the American Heart Association:
Learn Your Health History: Know your potential risks. Have a discussion with both your family and your primary care doctor to identify any potential red flags.
Eat a Healthy Diet: Make healthy food choices with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low fat dairy, and lean meats. Slow down on added sugars, salt, and saturated or trans fats. The American Heart Association supports a DASH or Mediterranean diet.
Move More and Sit Less: Try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week, along with muscle-strengthening activities twice a week.
Nicotine Exposure: If you smoke, do your heart a favor and work on quitting. You can call the Florida Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT NOW for some free help. The American Heart Association recommends avoiding both combustible tobacco and nicotine delivery systems (such as vape pens), as well as secondhand exposure.
Take Medicines as Directed: If you use medications for a chronic condition such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, follow your doctor’s instructions very carefully. If you don’t understand something, ask questions. Don’t stop taking your medications without first discussing it with your doctor.
Choose Your Drinks Wisely: Substitute water for sugary drinks. If you drink alcohol, limit it to 1-2 drinks per day. If you’re pregnant, avoid alcohol altogether.
Blood Pressure: Pay attention to your blood pressure readings. If you have high blood pressure, consider getting a home monitor to keep track of your blood pressure. Talk with your doctor about your best options to keep your blood pressure where it should be.
Talk with your primary care doctor about your own seven strategies and what they mean for your health. Your heart, and those close to your heart, will appreciate it.
Sourced By: Healthwise
Reviewed By: Capital Health Plan Physicians Group
Posted: February 5, 2024