February is American Heart Month, which strives to educate Americans about the dangers of heart disease and the steps that you can take to minimize its risk. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, as about one-out-of-four deaths can be attributed to heart disease each year.
While the heart naturally ages and weakens, you can significantly slow down this process and improve the wellness of your heart by following the steps below:
Reduce Your Red Meat Consumption
While red meat is undoubtedly delicious, it’s not necessarily the most healthy of delicacies. In fact, the consumption of red meat triggers a negative chain reaction in the stomach from the nutrient called carnitine that has been linked to the development of heart disease. Instead of having steak on a weekly basis, save it for special occasions – your bank account will be happy too!
Quitting tobacco products is no cake walk. However, this process can be manageable if you work to avoid certain triggers. These “triggers” are activities, hobbies or consumables that may go hand-in-hand with your smoking habit. This may include drinking alcohol or coffee, staying up late, or going out at night. You may also want to temporarily avoid friends or coworkers who smoke while they’re smoking. By removing these triggers from your life, it will be easier to quit smoking. Whether you choose to go cold turkey or use anti-smoking products designed to help you quit is your choice!
Limit Your Alcohol Consumption
As many know, a glass of wine each night is not the worst thing in the world, as evidence even illustrates that it may even be good for your health. Yet, consuming too much alcohol can create a world of problems, including negative effects on your heart. In addition to the empty calories, alcohol also increases your blood pressure, which has a direct link to causing heart disease. Hard alcohol and beer are therefore best saved for special (or no) occasions.
Exercising every single day of the week may seem like a daunting task to suddenly implement into your busy schedule. But exercising daily doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go to the gym every night after work. There are a number of small and easy steps that you can take to exercise. Walk or bike to work instead of driving or taking public transit. Even skipping the elevator at your work to take the stairs counts. If you have a dog, don’t just let them outside, take them for an adventure and go hiking. Your dog will love it and your heart will too!
Visit Your Doctor
The first step in improving your heart’s health is simply knowing your heart’s current health. Before you begin biking to work every day or starting a radical new diet, visit us at AFC Urgent Care, where we can advise you on what activities you’re healthy enough to do. We can additionally measure your blood pressure and cholesterol, and prescribe any necessary medication if you have a heart condition.
Our primary care team will provide you with a thorough medical exam that will set you on the right path in maximizing your heart’s potential. We offer primary care 7 days a week and accept the majority of health insurance plans, which establishes our center as the most convenient, affordable and accessible primary care destination in NE Portland, NW Portland, Beaverton and Lake Oswego, OR!