This February, in observance of the American Heart Association’s “American Heart Month,” Epiphany Cardio wants to encourage you to “follow your heart.” We want you to personally join the fight against heart disease by maintaining an active awareness of cardiovascular health and following the path to a heart-healthy life. So, how can you “follow your heart?” Here are some tips:
Follow the Facts
Obtaining and maintaining awareness about heart disease helps keep you conscious of the importance of cardiovascular health. The facts below should get you thinking about just how serious the topic is.
- In America, heart disease, including stroke, is the number one cause of death for both men and women.
- One out of every three deaths in America is from heart disease and stroke. This comes out to about 2,200 deaths per day.
- 71 million Americans have some form of heart disease.
Follow Your Risk
Understanding the magnitude of the issue is important, but alone it is not enough. Identifying which risks apply to you personally is a crucial step towards achieving optimal cardiovascular well-being. Check the following list. If any of the following applies to you, you are at increased risk for heart disease.
- You are a male 45 or older
- You are a female 55 or older
- You have a history of heart disease in your family
- You have high blood pressure OR high blood cholesterol
- You have diabetes
- You are overweight
- You are physically inactive
- You smoke
- You are constantly under stress
Follow-Up With Action
Understanding the scope of heart disease and knowing which risk factors pertain to you are two integral steps towards cardiovascular health, but they are useless if they don’t lead you to action. Taking appropriate action against any of the risk factors above can reduce your risk of heart disease or even reverse damage to the heart. Even in cases where the factors are beyond your control, like those concerning age, gender, and heredity, taking any of the following actions can help minimize your risk.
- Quit Smoking: The Surgeon General has called smoking "the leading preventable cause of disease and deaths in the United States." Quit now and start decreasing your risk of heart disease immediately.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight: Don’t just lose weight, keep it off and greatly reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Exercise on a Regular Basis: 20 to 60 minutes per day regularly, three to five times per week.
- Eat Healthy: Lean meats, low-fat dairy products, and foods that are low in cholesterol, added salts, fats or sugars.
- Treat Existing Health Conditions: If you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, get regular check-ups and follow your doctor’s instructions.