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Healthy Heart, Healthy Life: Tips for American Heart Health Month

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February is American Heart Month. Knowing your heart disease risk factors and making healthy lifestyle changes can help maintain heart health, reducing the risk of heart-related diseases. Let’s take action and commit to a healthier lifestyle to combat heart disease.

February is a special time of the year as we celebrate love and, more importantly, observe and promote heart health awareness. On average, a person succumbs to a cardiovascular disease every 34 seconds in the U.S.; thus, heart problems are in the spotlight as a prevalent cause of death in both men and women and people of different ethnic groups and races.

Heart health month was first proclaimed in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson at the request of Congress. The campaign grows yearly due to demand from the increasing cases of heart-related issues in people of all ages. It is meant to educate everyone on small but significant ways of keeping the heart healthy. Additionally, Americans come together to raise funds for heart-related organizations.

Heart Disease Risk Factors

Maintaining a healthy heart critically involves understanding the risks and working on prevention measures to reduce the chances of falling ill to heart disease. Although some factors are inevitable, prevention helps promote overall health, thus improving the quality of life.

Here are some of the most common heart disease risk factors in Americans:

matters of heartAge: The risk of heart disease varies with age. As the American Heart Association reports, age plays a significant role in the deterioration of cardiovascular function. From 40 to over 79 years, the risk increases from 40% to 86%. The older generation is more likely to die from a heart-related disease.

Gender: Gender becomes a substantial contributing factor with age. These discrepancies are usually attributed to hormones, and studies indicate that women are at a higher risk. With more focus on women, the gap widens between premenopausal and postmenopausal women and the latter face more risk due to lower estrogen levels with age.

Family History: Some heart conditions are hereditary; therefore, you could be at risk if some of your relatives develop heart disease. Scientifically, inherited heart conditions could be caused by a fault in one or several genes, which could be biologically obtained from a parent to a child. It is crucial to have your DNA tested and seek guidance from the doctor early.

Physical Inactivity: Physical activity helps strengthen the heart muscles, thus improving its ability to pump blood. An adequate blood supply often means higher oxygen levels which support other body functions.

Smoking: Smokers are at a higher risk of contracting heart disease than non-smokers. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention notes that smoking results in one in every four cardiovascular deaths. Smoking leads to plaque formation in blood vessels, thus affecting blood flow to and from the heart, consequently, the supply of oxygen.

Poor Diet: Healthy foods, including cholesterol-rich foods, help protect the heart. Poor nutrition is also associated with several cardiovascular diseases and abnormal bowel movements.

High Blood Pressure: Those suffering from high blood pressure already have a strain in their blood pathways, thus limiting blood flow.

Diabetes: High blood sugar levels tend to damage blood vessels, putting diabetic people at a higher risk than those without. At whatever age, people with diabetes are twice as likely to develop cardiovascular disease.

Obesity: Obese or overweight persons have a higher chance of developing heart disease. The excess fat builds up around the vessels, causing a strain, thus leading to high blood pressure.

Stress: Stress affects the body mentally and physically, thus affecting blood pressure. Chronic stress is often associated with heart disease.

Healthy Habits For a Healthy Heart

A healthy heart begins with a healthy lifestyle. Here are some essential habits to carry along during American Heart Month and beyond:

Healthy Eating: A healthy meal features plenty of fruits and vegetables and foods low in sugars, sodium, and saturated fat. These foods are easily digestible and contain essential nutrients, thus helping in lowering the risk of heart disease.

Stay Active: Keep your blood flowing by staying physically active. 15 to 30 minutes a day of dancing, walking, running, biking, etc., helps strengthen muscles and promote a healthy heart.

Quit Smoking: Active and passive smoking keeps your lungs airy, thus allowing oxygen to flow easily into the body.

Manage Stress: Stress management can include seeing a therapist, taking up hobbies, meditating, etc., thus promoting overall well-being by relaxing the body and controlling blood pressure.

Regular checkups: Checking in with your doctor helps you maintain a healthy weight, check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels and take early notice of any potential risk factors like hereditary heart diseases. While at it, ask your doctor questions about improving your health.

Take alcohol in moderation: Ideally, it is safer to stay away from alcohol, but if you choose to drink, do it responsibly. Excess alcohol puts you at risk of developing heart problems.

Healthy Hearts, Healthy Life!

As we work on promoting heart disease awareness, adopting these healthy habits in your daily life is vital for a healthier heart and a better life.

Tribute Senior Living is dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly in the community, but it has to start early. Make your heart a priority and encourage those around you to do the same during American Heart month and the rest of the year.

We Are Here to Help

Here at Tribute Senior Living, we help our residents fight back against the aging and disease process with on-site nurses 24 hours a day, delicious, heart-healthy meals, and age-appropriate fitness options with a full-time fitness director. Contact us today to learn more about our community and services.

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