February is Heart Month! And while being health conscious is important year round, let this February serve as an opportunity to take a step back, learn the facts, and support those in your life who have been affected by heart disease and stroke.
Knowledge is power
Did you know that 1 in 3 women die of heart disease and stroke? Fortunately, however, 80% of these cases are entirely preventable. In fact, the following measures can be taken to decrease your chance of developing heart complications: 1
Check your cholesterol regularly 2
High cholesterol levels are attributed not only to consuming foods high in saturated fats or trans fats, but also to your family history. Regardless of your diet, make it a point to monitor your cholesterol levels on a regular basis and speak with your healthcare provider about your cholesterol levels at your next appointment.
Monitor your blood pressure 3
Women who are more than 20 pounds overweight run an increased risk of high blood pressure, which is greater than the targeted 120/80 mm Hg. High blood pressure can damage arteries and lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, eye damage and heart failure, making it essential to keep an eye on your blood pressure. Schedule an appointment today with your healthcare provider.
Quit smoking 4
Smoking is bad for you, plain and simple. The nasty habit increases the risk of heart disease and stroke by 2 to 4 times. However, quitting smoking for one year can cut the risk of heart disease and stroke in half.
Get an assessment
Gaining insight into the status of your current health can help you to be more health conscious and make lifestyle changes.
Use this heart disease risk calculator 5 to learn not only about your current standing, but also about the steps you can take to lower your risk of heart disease. Please remember, while every assessment can be beneficial, nothing can replace the benefits of scheduling an appointment and having a conversation with your healthcare provider!
Starting good habits early
Health awareness is important, but it’s also essential to start heart-healthy living as soon as possible. Below, find some easy steps you can take at home to lower sodium levels in your home-cooked meals and help keep your child in good heart health.6
- Try alternatives! Instead of adding salt when cooking, try adding herbs and spices!
- Be an example! Model healthy eating habits for your children.
- Ask questions! When you’re out to eat, ask for nutritional information in each dish.
- Reach out! Use social media outlets to share your challenges and successes for reducing sodium in your and your child’s diet.
Stop by your local Health Mart® and chat with one of our pharmacists to learn more about keeping your heart healthy. To find a Health Mart near you, visit http://healthmart.com/store-locator.
1. Wear Red Day. www.goredforwomen.org/wear-red-day/ Accessed January 11, 2016.
2. Cholesterol and Heart Disease. www.goredforwomen.org/know-your-risk/factors-that-increase-your-risk-for-heart-disease/cholesterol-heart-disease/. Accessed January 11, 2016.
3. High Blood Pressure and Heart Disease. www.goredforwomen.org/know-your-risk/factors-that-increase-your-risk-for-heart-disease/high-blood-pressure-heart-disease/. Accessed January 11, 2016.
4. Smoking and Heart Disease. www.goredforwomen.org/know-your-risk/factors-that-increase-your-risk-for-heart-disease/smoking-heart-disease/. Accessed January 11, 2016.
5. Heart Disease Risk Calculator. www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/heart-disease-risk/itt-20084942. Accessed January 13, 2016.
6. Reducing Sodium in Children’s Diets. www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/children-sodium/index.html. Accessed January 11, 2016.
Posted on Fri, January 29, 2016
by Alex McManus