Did you know the month of February is American Heart Month? American Heart Month is dedicated to spreading heart health awareness and promoting a heart healthy lifestyle. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S., taking more than 610,000 lives each year. Although you cannot alter some risk factors of heart disease, such as your family history, sex or age, there are still many prevention steps you can take to protect your heart:
• Exercise regularly. Being active everyday can significantly decrease your risk of developing heart disease. Even if it is only for a mere 30 minutes, set aside time each day for physical activity, such as swimming, walking your dog, hiking the trails or taking a dancing class with friends.
• Eat a nutritious, balanced diet. A diet rich in fruits, veggies and whole grains work wonders on your heart. Specific heart-healthy foods include: salmon, tuna, almonds, avocado, berries, oatmeal and beans. Avoid foods that contain a lot of sodium and sugars, as these can take a toll on your heart.
• Avoid smoking or tobacco use. Smoking and tobacco use of any kind drastically increases your risk of developing heart disease. The chemicals in tobacco cause damage to your heart and blood vessels, leading to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is when your arteries begin to narrow due to plaque buildup, and it can often lead to heart attacks. The carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke increases your blood pressure and heart rate by causing your heart to work harder to supply enough oxygen to your blood. Increasing your risk of heart disease due to smoking is 100 percent preventable: break the habit. To seek help for quitting smoking, contact your health care provider today for information.
We here at Maryville Imaging hope you celebrate American Heart Month by following these simple lifestyle tips to decrease your chance of developing heart disease. Trust us, your heart will thank you!