Love your heart – let’s take good care of it!

Love your heart – let’s take good care of it!

It’s February, and that means it’s also American Heart Month. It’s a great opportunity to learn about heart disease, take inventory of your heart health and habits, and learn what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones.

According to the CDC, more than 650,000 people die of heart disease in the U.S. each year. And while it’s the number one cause of death in this country, the American Heart Association reports that in most cases heart disease is preventable if we choose to live a healthy lifestyle.

So, what is heart disease? And what can you do to live a healthier lifestyle?

Heart disease includes heart failure, arrhythmia, and coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease. It means the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the heart have become built up with fatty plaque. Though genetics can be one factor, you increase your risk if you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, a sedentary lifestyle, have chronic stress, and if you smoke.

Signs of heart disease

There are various indicators of heart disease, and while chest pain or tightness are among the most common, other symptoms should put you on alert. These can include pain in the jaw, arms, shoulders, neck or back, shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, rapid or irregular heartbeat or fatigue.  Women may or may not experience chest pain with a heart attack but may experience extreme fatigue, shortness of breath or a noticeable shift to not being able to physically do what you could do previously.

In recounting the story of a serious heart attack she suffered in 2012, Rosie O’Donnell, comedian and former talk-show host, summarized heart attack symptoms for women like this: HEPPP, which stands for Hot, Exhausted, Pain, Pale, Puke, which are the symptoms she suffered before realizing she was having a heart attack. 

Living a heart healthy lifestyle

If you are reading this blog, you have already taken an important step toward learning more about heart health and self care. Now, what are some specific steps you can take to keep your heart healthy? You can start by taking control of health conditions like high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure. In partnership with your health care provider, you can address this with a combination of diet, exercise, and medication or dietary supplements. 

Focus on your diet

Your diet plays a significant role in helping you manage weight and cholesterol. Reduce or avoid saturated and trans fats common in foods like red meat, processed meats, ice cream, butter, sugary snacks, and fried foods. Get the protein your body needs with healthful choices like lean meats, poultry, fish, and low-fat dairy products such as Greek yogurt and skim milk.  

Stay active

Exercise is crucial to maintaining heart health. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of exercise per week – or 75 minutes if your workouts are more vigorous.

Find ways to exercise that you enjoy! Take a walk or run with a friend or while listening to your favorite podcast, join a motivating exercise class, or take advantage of the many home workout options available today.   

Aerobic activities like swimming, biking, or walking are known to be best for heart health. This is because aerobic activity uses your heart and lungs for a long period of time, helping your heart use oxygen better and improving the blood flow to your organs. If you’re struggling to find the energy to exercise even a little bit each day, you might want to try an energy supplement like EnergixPlus.

Stress less

Stress also can be a direct cause of heart complications like high blood pressure, specifically in adults. Make sure you are setting aside time each day to relax and reset. Work on a puzzle, read a book, take a relaxing bath, meditate or do some yoga, or just have a long laugh with friends. Make your soul happy and your heart will follow! 

There is a lot you can do to keep your heart healthy. We hope you are inspired to learn more and take action as America celebrates Heart Month.

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