February is National Heart Month, and for good reason. One in three women are diagnosed with cardiovascular disease at some point in their lives, and it is the most prominent health risk for all Americans. Placing a special focus on heart health this month will help older adults live a healthier lifestyle for the rest of the year.
The main goal of heart health is to avoid cardiovascular disease, which includes any condition that affects the heart or blood vessels. The most common heart disease, known as Coronary Artery Disease, affects blood flow to the heart, which can trigger a heart attack. Heart diseases can be fatal, and are the cause of 1 in every 4 deaths in the U.S. Luckily, they’re preventable and can be avoided.
Half of Americans have at least one of the three main risk factors for heart disease, which are smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Besides these three main risk factors, there are many other things that can lead to heart disease.
Besides medicine, the best way to decrease your risk of heart disease is to make lifestyle changes.
Firstly, diet plays a big role in heart disease. Foods with high amounts of saturated and trans fats are dangerous, as are foods with high cholesterol. Additionally, sodium can raise blood pressure as well. Eating less processed fast foods and shifting to a balanced diet will do wonders for heart health. Plus, cooking is a great hobby if you’re looking for new skills to learn!
Secondly, lifestyle plays a big part in heart health. Staying active is great for the heart and prevents many of the risk factors, such as obesity. Incorporating exercise into your daily routine can help your heart health. Decreasing substance consumption, like alcohol and nicotine, will also help. Both alcohol and nicotine have dangerous effects on blood pressure.
No matter what, you should try to visit the doctor regularly. Many of the risk factors don’t cause immediate symptoms, so consulting a doctor can catch those signs early on. The goal of National Heart Month is to help people be aware of the risks, so get checkups often and stay healthy!