A Healthy, Happy Heart

With the start of American Heart Month and Valentine’s Day on the horizon, February is a great month to show some love. Making heart health a priority is a gift you can give yourself, as well as your family, spouse or significant other. Just don’t forget to back that up with a card and a gift to stay out of the doghouse.

During Heart Month, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is in the spotlight, and rightly so; it’s the No. 1 killer of men and women every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CVD includes heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. We know most of you get that exercise and a healthy diet are great ways to keep your heart healthy. Here are a few other things that you might not know are great for your heart, as well.

Time for bed

According to Harvard Medical School, sleep disorders can affect your heart negatively, particularly sleep apnea and sleep deprivation. These problems cause issues that may lead to heart disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and the release of cortisol, a stress hormone. Sleeping gives your body time to repair, including your heart and blood vessels, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.

Put your feet up

While stress can sometimes be a motivator for us, often stress has a more negative impact on your body; particularly, your heart. Stress that results in anger can create heart problems, like high blood pressure, arrhythmia, high cholesterol, a compromised immune system and artery damage, according to the Cleveland Clinic. While everyone handles stress differently, managing it is key. Spending time with friends, taking pleasure in life and making sure your inner voice stays positive are all little things you can do to keep stress off your shoulders and your heart! Cardio exercise, yoga and meditation can also help control stress levels.

Laughter may be the best medicine

A University of Maryland Medical Center study found that 40 percent of people with heart disease laughed less than their study counterparts. And ABC News reported that laughter actually has an impact on your blood pressure, according to Jennifer Mieres, a clinical nuclear cardiologist. Sharing a joke with friends or watching a comedy on TV is a great way to blow off some steam and keep your heart healthy.

It’s pretty clear that a happy heart is a healthy heart, so take some time this month to do something good for it! If you have concerns about your heart, please come and visit us at American Family Care. Our friendly doctors can check you out and make sure your heart will be going strong for years to come!

What heart-healthy activities do you incorporate into your everyday life? Share your ideas with us!