Valentine’s Day is almost here– are you caring for your heart? According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. The most common type of heart condition is coronary heart disease and it occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. Coronary heart disease causes heart attacks, angina, heart failure and arrhythmia.
Heart disease is preventable and controllable, as long as you follow a plan to reduce your risks. A healthy diet is essential as you begin your journey to prevent heart disease. Make sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables- adults should have five servings per day. Consume foods that are low in saturated fats, trans-fats and cholesterol. Limiting the amount of sodium in your diet will aid in lowering your blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease.
Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising daily will also lower your risk of heart disease. Physical activity has been linked to reduced levels of cholesterol and blood pressure. Make routine appointment to test your cholesterol and monitor your blood pressure. Along with monitoring your blood pressure, it is vital that you do not smoke and limit your alcohol intake.
All of this information can be nerve-racking for many individuals. Strive to make small changes each day toward a healthier lifestyle, as not to become overwhelmed, discourage or stressed – which can further impact stress on the heart. Remember to reward yourself by going for an afternoon walk, taking a yoga class or making a healthy meal with friends. These simple steps can ensure a healthier heart.