It is American Heart Month. The heart, one of the most important organs in the body. We give the heart so much attention especially on February 14th, Valentine’s Day, and wear shirts with red heart symbols. This vital organ works around the clock and every beat of it keeps us alive.
There are some factors that help keep our hearts healthy. These include physical activity, healthy eating, and avoiding tobacco. Healthy eating helps reduce the risk of heart disease. Excessive sodium intake can lead to high blood pressure, which affects the heart and kidneys. Foods high in cholesterol can clog up critical arteries that maintain blood flow from the heart. It is important to keep an eye on blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Heart disease amongst those ages 35 to 64 is decreasing at a slower rate than in the past. In many communities across United States, the condition is worsening due to risk factors like physical inactivity, high blood pressure, and tobacco use.
There are some practical tips that can help reduce the risk of heart disease, like using spices to season food, instead of salt. Moving for at least 150 minutes per week is recommended for a healthy heart. Or 30 minutes each day for 5 days. This reduces obesity, which is a contributing factor for heart disease. Physical activity in combination with eating a diet low in trans fat and sugar reduce the chances of chronic illnesses that play a role in heart disease.
If diagnosed with high blood pressure or cholesterol, it is important to manage the condition as directed by a physician through medication and/or life style changes.
Heart disease is a leading cause of death in United States. And chances are that we know someone who has been affected by heart disease or stroke. It can affect anyone and is not limited by age or gender. Together, we can build better habits and encourage children to develop practices that reduce the risk of heart disease.
We remember the loved ones and those that we have lost to heart disease. Our thoughts are with all those hurting during American Heart Month. And we will strive to increase awareness and build strong and healthy communities.