February isn’t just the month of love… it’s the month of heart disease awareness! Although there are some factors you can’t control when it comes to heart health such as family history and genetics, there are still many things you can do to decrease your risk of heart disease like…
- Control your blood pressure and cholesterol levels – When was the last time you checked your blood pressure and cholesterol levels? If the answer is over a year ago, you’re overdue for a check-up with your primary care physician. Both high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels are huge risks for heart disease that can be easily controlled with diet, exercise, and in some cases, medications carefully prescribed by your doctor.
- Maintain a healthy weight – The quarantine 15 is REAL, but extra weight can contribute to a variety of health issues and is a risk factor for heart disease. So, if you’re stuck at home, consider using the time you would normally use to commute to work to get in a 15-30 minute at home workout instead.
- Limit alcohol – If a glass of red wine every evening is your jam, that’s totally fine! Just limit it to 1 glass since drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure and cause weight gain, increasing your risk of heart disease.
- Keep stress to a minimum – Stress is a contributor to many health issues but the biggest issue with stress is how we tend to cope with it – overeating, overdrinking, and smoking are common ways people cope with stress, and all 3 negatively impact your heart health. Additionally, stress in itself can increase blood pressure and extreme stress may even lead to a heart attack.
- Manage diabetes- Having diabetes actually doubles your risk of heart disease. That risk increases further if your blood sugar isn’t adequately controlled. This is because high blood sugar can cause damage to the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels. If you do have diabetes, it’s important to consult with your doctor regularly to ensure your blood sugar is properly managed.
We hope these tips leave you feeling empowered to take control of your heart health!
Happy Heart Disease Awareness Month!