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Love Your Heart

February is American Heart Month and the opportunity to raise awareness about heart disease. In February, we also celebrate Valentine’s Day which is a great reminder to Love your heart. This month is a great time to learn more about how important good heart health is and steps to create a heart-healthier lifestyle. The American Heart Association also encourages everyone to participate in the National Public Awareness Day for people from all walks of life to Wear Red to bring attention and awareness to heart disease.
Heart disease is known as the silent killer for both men and women. Heart diseases don’t favor any specific gender or race; it can happen to anyone with a heart. According to the CDC, heart disease is the number one killer of Americans and the leading cause of death for men and women, taking the lives of 2,200 people each day. Over 103 million adults have high blood pressure and 6.5 million are living with heart failure. Millions of Americans continue to lose loved ones and family members to heart disease. While this disease continues to claim lives every day, the picture of Americans with heart disease has changed from older to younger faces.
Heart disease is no longer an older adult disease. It is happening in younger adults more often now than ever before. The primary conditions that lead to heart disease are high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high rate of obesity. These conditions are found more in younger adults between the age of 35-64 which puts this age group at a higher risk for heart disease earlier in life.
Having uncontrolled high blood pressure is one of the biggest risks for heart disease and other harmful conditions that can cause a stroke. Other health conditions like having diabetes, obesity, smoking, stress, eating unhealthy foods, and not getting enough physical activity and sleep can all contribute to an increased risk of heart disease. Genetics may also play a major factor but 80% of cardiovascular disease is preventable with education and taking action.
Simple lifestyle changes can help make a big impact when it comes to loving your heart. Here are 5 tips to improve your heart health and show your heart some love.

  1. Eat a Heart-Healthy diet of foods low in sodium, sugar, trans-fat and saturated fat. Eat foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, vegetable oils, fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
  2. Get moving and stay physically active. Participate in cardio exercises like walking, jogging, riding bikes, aerobics or swimming 3-4 times a week for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Reduce your stress level and get at least 7-8 hours of sleep at night. Stress and not getting enough sleep can increase your risk of having high blood pressure and heart disease.
  4. If you smoke, vape, or use E-cigarettes, try to quit or get help to quit. If you don’t, don’t start. Chemicals in tobacco and E-cigs products are harmful to your heart and blood vessels.
  5. Take charge of your care. Work with your primary care physician to manage your high blood pressure and high cholesterol, take medication as prescribed, and follow-up with all check-ups and well visits.
Cokeitha Gaddist
Cokeitha Gaddist (95 Posts)