Show Your Heart Some Love: Steps toward better heart health
February is full of hearts: Reese’s hearts, conversation hearts, heart shaped boxes of chocolates, teddy bears holding hearts. But there is one heart that is more important than all the others: your heart. With February being American Heart Month, let’s look at cardiovascular health.
Preventing heart disease
Since heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US, it is important that you work toward improving your health and reducing this risk. Here are some goals you can set to improve your heart health.
Smoking damages the heart and blood vessels. Removing smoke exposure from your life can lead to improved health.
Physical movement will help you improve your overall health and in turn reduce your risk of heart disease. Exercise can lead to lower cholesterol, lower blood sugar, and a reduction in blood pressure. If you aren’t currently striving to have a raised heart level 150 minutes per week, then begin making small changes. Set a goal for the number of steps you walk and gradually increase these. Work toward 30 minutes of increased heart rate 5 days per week.
Strive to have a colorful diet. This means lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. When eating grains, select mostly whole grains. Minimize your intake of processed foods, sugars, salt, alcohol, and be selective of your fats. Be sure to include protein but don’t forget fish and nuts are a great source of protein.
A BMI of 25 or over is considered overweight. Calculating your BMI takes into consideration your height and gender. If you are outside the standard healthy BMI, talk to your doctor about what would be healthy for you.
We all know we need sleep to function. Studies have shown that those with inconsistent sleep are more likely to develop heart disease.
When you are stressed you may turn to unhealthy habits. Learning how to manage your stress and respond positively to the triggers can help set you up for success.
If you have an annual wellness check with your doctor, be sure to get your blood work done. Your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels should be monitored so that you know if you need to take action.
Monitor your health.
Annual preventative screenings can help you to understand how your health has changed for the better or worse year-over-year. This awareness can help you to make strides toward better overall health and better heart health.
College Park Pharmacy, Howard’s Pharmacy, Mooney’s Pharmacy, and P&S Pharmacy are local pharmacies here in East Tennessee who are here to support you on your journey to better health. Our pharmacies can fulfill your prescriptions for pickup or delivery and also offer flu shots. Come by and see us.