February is Heart Health Month!
Listen To Your Heart, It Is Heart Health Month After All!
It is likely that we all know someone affected by heart disease. The month of February has been designated by Congress to remind all of America to listen to your heart and get involved in spreading awareness about heart disease to your friends, neighbors, and loved ones.
This past Friday, the staff at Kansas City Bone and Joint Clinics participated in the Go Red For Women Initiative started by the American Heart Association. Donations from staff were collected and proceeds are on their way to help raise awareness regarding heart disease and stroke in women.
In 1964, nearly half of the natural deaths in the United States were due to cardiovascular disease. Congress stepped in and declared February a month to spread awareness regarding heart health and stroke. It is estimated that 2,300 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day, which is an average of 1 death every 38 seconds! What an eye-opening number to think about.
Uncontrollable factors related to disease include age, gender, race, and family history of cardiovascular disease. While you cannot change your age or family history, there are some things you can do to improve your heart health:
- Control your blood pressure
- Blood pressure can lead to health complications, including cardiovascular disease. Regular checkups can help you to monitor and control your blood pressure before it becomes an issue.
- Monitor your cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Obesity can lead to the conditions listed above. Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise can help lower your risk of developing heart disease.
- Have you heard of the Dash Diet? It stand for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Check it out by following the link!
- Limit alcohol and avoid smoking
- Alcohol leads to increased caloric intake as well as a spike in blood pressure. Smoking also raises blood pressure, double whammy! Both of these factors increase your risk of heart disease.
- Manage stress and sleep
- Stress and lack of sleep often coincide. Some people cope with stress by eating excessivly, binge drinking, and smoking. All risk factors! Not sleeping also increases the chance of raised blood pressure and obesity. Managing stress is vital for maintaining heart health! After all, stress alone can be a risk factor for heart disease!
- Take care of other health related complications
- Diabetes doubles your risk of diabetic heart disease! Increased sugar levels can damage blood vessels and nerves that control your heart and blood vessels.
Riki Duncan, MA.Ed, ATC, LAT