February is American Heart Month. Of course, we also celebrate Valentine’s Day this month, and heart-shaped symbols of love will be hung from every window and door. It is only fitting, then, that the month of February be dedicated to heart health – more specifically, the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Cardiovascular disease, which includes h eart disease, stroke and high blood pressure, kills more people in the United States than any other disease. But the good news is that, in many cases, bad heart health can be prevented. At Primrose, we are proud to help our residents understand and avoid the risk factors – which include poor diet, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Controlling the risk factors of cardiovascular disease comes down to making good decisions, and the process can seem overwhelming to someone who is just beginning. It is important to remember that a journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step – and that every step you take makes you heart healthier!
Here are a few things you should do:
•Get a checkup at least once per year, even if you feel healthy.
•Monitor your blood pressure. You can check it at any pharmacy or at a doctor’s office.
•Have your cholesterol checked at least every 5 years.
•Eat healthy. Adults should have at least five servings of fresh fruit and vegetables every day. Eat high fiber foods, and avoid cholesterol and saturated fat.
•Exercise regularly. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park far from the entrance when out shopping so that you have to walk farther etc…
•If you smoke, quit. Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for cardiovascular disease.
Remember – there are many things you can do to take control of your heart health. If you have questions about anything, ask your doctor. Take charge and be healthy in 2015, your heart will thank you!