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Celebrating American Heart Month

In recognition of American Heart Month this February, we are going to provide you with some pertinent information relating to the heart and the rest of the cardiovascular system.

Some Heart Disease Statistics in America

Did you know that every 36 seconds, a person in the United States dies from cardiovascular disease complications? And more than $200 billion is spent every year on costs correlating with heart disease.

Coronary Heart Disease

The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease, also known as coronary heart disease, and it affects nearly 7% of adults in the US. Coronary artery disease is usually caused by the degradation of primary blood vessels leading to the heart. Those with high cholesterol are at greater risk of developing coronary artery disease.

Heart Attack

Also referred to as a myocardial infarction, heart attacks occur when blood flow is prevented from reaching the heart. Over 800,000 people in the US experience a heart attack every year. Shockingly, around 20% of heart attacks are “silent” heart attacks; this type of heart attack happens without the person it is happening to even knowing it.

Maintaining a Healthy Heart

Fortunately, there are a variety of effective ways to promote heart health, helping to ensure your cardiovascular system is functioning at its best. Staying active, eating healthy, and practicing healthy living habits can all contribute to sustaining a healthy heart.

Consider these five tips that can help lower your risk of heart disease:

Risk: Inactivity

Solution: Move more throughout your day. Aim for at least 150 minutes each week of physical activity. Build up to activity that gets your heart beating faster and leaves you a little breathless. If you’re busy, try breaking your daily activity into 10-minute chunks.

Risk: An unhealthy diet

Solution: Consider an option like NHLBI’s Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan, which is free and scientifically proven to lower high blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels.

Risk: Smoking, even occasionally

Solution: Quitting can be beneficial to your overall health, even if you’ve smoked for years. Set a quit date and let those close to you know. If you’ve tried quitting in the past, consider what helped and what made it harder.

Risk: Inadequate or poor-quality sleep

Solution: Sleeping 7-8 hours each night helps improve heart health. Try going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. Getting a 30-minute daily dose of sunlight may also improve sleep.

Risk: Uncontrolled stress

Solution: To help manage stress, try relaxation therapy and increase physical activity. Talk to a qualified mental health provider or someone you trust. De-stressing may also help improve sleep.

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

senior group running outside
no smoking sign
heart healthy foods in the shape of a heart

A Heart Healthy Diet

As mentioned by the NHLBI, the DASH eating plan can help maintain and improve upon your cardiovascular health. The DASH eating plan’s primary recommendations include eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It also recommends staying away from saturated fats and beverages high in sugars. If you would like to learn more, you can visit NHLBI’s webpage: DASH Eating Plan

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