February is American Heart Month! Take this month to educate yourself and your family about the risks of heart disease, and how to prevent it.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S., and it doesn’t just affect older adults. Recently, younger adults have been diagnosed with heart disease. Luckily, heart disease can often be prevented with diet and exercise changes.
Certain conditions and behaviors put people at a high risk for heart disease including:
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
- Unhealthy diet
Some of these health conditions, such as high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol, may be hereditary but can still be managed with the help of medical professionals through medication and lifestyle changes.
Preventing Heart Disease
There are many steps you can take to fight heart disease. Below are two things you control that have a huge impact on your heart health.
- Healthy Eating
Consuming a healthy diet is crucial when it comes to having a healthy heart. Limiting sodium, saturated fats, and red meat can help lower blood cholesterol levels. Focus on eating fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, such as chicken and fish, and healthy fats like avocado and olive oil.
Aerobic exercise improves circulation, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, helps you manage a healthy weight and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, all of which lower your risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends adults get 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 min per week of vigorous aerobic activity or a combination of both. Below are a few examples of what each type of activity can look like.
Examples of moderate intensity activities:
- Brisk walking
- Water aerobics
- Biking slower than 10 mph
Examples of vigorous intensity activities:
- Hiking uphill or with a heavy pack
- Swimming laps
- Aerobic dancing
- Cycling 10 mph or faster
- Jumping rope
Taking care of your heart is the most important thing you can do for your body. If you think you or a family member might be at risk for heart disease, talk with a medical professional to determine how to lower or prevent your risk. Visit www.americanfamilycare.com to find a location near you!