February is American Heart Month and heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the USA, but not everyone knows how to keep their heart-healthy. Luckily for us, the CDC has outlined 7 strategies to live a heart-healthy lifestyle.
#1 Learn Your Health History
Certain health conditions, your lifestyle, and your family’s history can raise your risk for high cholesterol. It’s important to talk with your family and your doctor to learn where you might be at risk. This is a great conversation to have during your annual wellness visit with your primary care provider.
#2 Eat a Healthy Diet
Try making healthy food choices and incorporating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products into your diet. While it’s easier said than done, try to limit your consumption of saturated fat and added sugar.
#3 Move More, Sit Less
The CDC recommends that “adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week, plus muscle-strengthening activities at least 2 days a week.” This is roughly 22 minutes of activity a day. Try making this a family-friendly activity such as walking the dog or doing some at-home exercise classes to get everyone up and moving.
#4 Quit Smoking
Need we say more? Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free support.
#5 Take Medicines as Directed
There are several types of medicines to help lower LDL cholesterol. Make sure to follow your doctor’s instructions and always ask if you don’t understand something. Never stop taking your medicine without talking to your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.
#6 Rethink Your Drink
Reaching for the soda in your fridge or getting a sugary drink in the drive-through might seem like the easiest way to go but substituting water for sugary drinks can be a quick swap to help keep your body healthy. Is water not flavorful enough? Try adding berries or slices of lime, lemon, or cucumber to your water.
#7 Monitor Your Blood Pressure at Home
Leaving the house isn’t as common these days however self-measured blood pressure monitors (SMBPs) are easy and safe to use. Plus, your doctor can always walk you through it if you have questions. Why monitor? Studies have shown a positive effect of SMBP in improving blood pressure control.
In the US, nearly 1 in 2 adults have high blood pressure yet only 1 in 4 has it under control. If left uncontrolled, high blood pressure can increase a person’s risk for heart disease, stroke, heart failure, and more. Making small but effective changes can not only help you but your whole family. As always, if you have any questions or concerns feel free to schedule an appointment with your AFC provider today.