February is often associated with chocolate hearts, candy, and Valentine’s cards. But did you know it’s also American Heart Month?
During February, our team at Triad Internal Medicine in Asheboro, North Carolina, is joining the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and other organizations around the country in bringing greater attention to heart health.
Heart disease may be the leading cause of death in America, but you can take steps to prevent it. Keep reading to learn more about the basics of heart health and our top 10 tips for keeping your ticker in tip-top shape.
The most important thing you can do to promote a healthy heart is to eat a heart-healthy diet. Center your meals and snacks around plant-based foods, like fresh and cooked vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, like beans and legumes, and whole fruits.
At the same time, reduce your intake of foods that damage heart health. Foods to avoid include red meats, processed meats (e.g., deli meats; hot dogs), processed sugar, refined carbohydrates, added salt, saturated fats, and processed foods.
After eating right, it’s important to engage in regular cardiovascular exercise for optimal heart health. This means doing some kind of cardio five days each week for at least 30 minutes per session. You don’t have to hit the treadmill; there are many activities from which to choose. The best thing is to pick an activity you enjoy doing, so you stick with it.
Your heart is a muscle. Cardiovascular exercise helps strengthen your heart, yes; but exercises that strengthen the other muscles in your body also help keep your heart healthy.
For optimal heart health, your care provider can help you design a strength-training program that meets your needs and builds your body muscles and your heart muscles. For best results, incorporate strength training two to three times each week..
Losing weight not only lowers the excess strain being overweight puts on your heart and organs, but it also improves other cardiovascular health markers, like blood pressure and cholesterol. This makes it easier to stay physically active, which is also good for your heart. , and makes it easier to stick to your exercise routines.
If you’ve tried to lose weight without success, our weight loss management program can help!.
Smoking increases your risk of heart disease by two to four times—even if you don’t have any other cardiovascular risk factors. This is because tobacco causes a buildup of plaque and hardens your arteries. These conditions make it harder for your heart to function well.
Although some studies show light alcohol consumption may not harm your heart, the vast majority of studies show a link between alcohol consumption and an increased risk of heart disease. Plus, alcohol use has been linked to other serious health conditions, like cancer, liver disease, and more.
Did you know over 65% of diabetics die from complications with heart health, like stroke or heart disease? You can lower your risk by making sure to control and manage your diabetes. Talk to your Triad Internal Medicine provider for customized diabetes help.
About 70% of Americans take at least one prescription medication. If your provider has recommended medications to help manage chronic conditions, it’s important to take them as prescribed to help maintain your health.
When you don’t take medicine regularly or as prescribed, it can make medical problems worse, and in some cases, it can increase your risk of stroke, heart attack, and other cardiovascular issues.
To promote heart health, be sure to focus on healthy sleep. Studies have found that people who don’t get enough sleep have an increased risk for many heart-related issues, including stroke, heart disease, and heart attack.
What’s more? Researchers have found a link between getting consistent sleep and heart health. This means it isn’t only important to get enough (seven to eight) hours of sleep each night, but it’s important to maintain a regular sleep schedule (going to sleep and waking up around the same time each day).
With regular screenings that monitor your heart health, the team at Triad Internal Medicine helps you stay on top of your heart health by catching any warning signs, like high blood pressure or problematic blood cholesterol, early, when they’re most treatable.
Have more questions about how you can promote heart health? Schedule an appointment online or over the phone with a provider at Triad Internal Medicine in Asheboro, North Carolina.