Learn the essentials to ensure that one of the most vital organs in the body, the heart, stays healthy.
It is logical that February is marked as the Month of the American Heart and the Month of Love, the month symbolized by a heart, where Valentine’s Day is celebrated, and we take the time to remember and emphasize the importance of love in our lives daily. It is essential that we ensure that one of the most vital organs in the body, the heart, remains healthy.
American Heart Month was created to combat the leading cause of death for Americans: heart disease. According to the fact sheet from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, cardiovascular disease (CVD), or any condition that affects the heart, is responsible for one in three deaths each year. There are four main types of CVD:
- Coronary heart disease: This heart disease occurs when a buildup of fatty substances blocks the coronary arteries or the blood supply to the heart.
- Stroke: When the blood supply to the brain is interrupted, a stroke occurs.
- Peripheral arterial disease: This heart disease occurs when there is a blockage in the arterial blood supply to the extremities, usually the legs.
- Aortic disease: The aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body. Any interruption of it, commonly weakened or broken, is considered an aortic disease.
For the most part, cardiovascular disease is preventable with the right lifestyle choices. Below are some tips to keep your heart healthy or improve your heart health.
Tips to maintain a healthy heart
Show yourself love this month by incorporating these tips into your daily routine to strengthen your heart muscle.
1. Know your family history.
You should know your family history when it comes to heart disease. It is proven that having close relatives with heart disease will increase the likelihood that you will be diagnosed with heart disease. Scheduling routine checkups and tests will help combat risk or catch things early if there is a family history of heart disease.
2. Eat healthily.
What you put into your body directly reflects on the health of your heart. Making sure your body is getting the right nutrients is essential to maintaining healthy heart function, while unhealthy choices lead to buildup in the arteries and various heart health risks.
Today, you see a lot of issues related to portion control rather than what you actually eat. It is everywhere: advice on what to eat and what not to eat, but we rarely see how much is right to eat. The American Heart Association has created resources on serving sizes and suggested servings of foods based on the specific food group.
3. Eliminate nicotine.
Nicotine is a highly addictive chemical. Many find it very difficult to quit smoking, vaping, or using any form of tobacco. Eliminating nicotine from daily life is highly recommended as it disrupts blood flow by constricting blood vessels and causing CVD of the heart.
Here are some tips from the American Heart Association to help you quit smoking.
4. Incorporate Daily Physical Activity.
A common way many relieve stress, lower blood pressure, and control weight is to engage in daily physical activity, which keeps your heart healthy. Whether it’s walking or playing a quick game of tennis, any physical movement or cardiovascular exercise is essential for a healthy heart.
5. Know the signs.
During a sudden cardiac emergency, like a heart attack, every second counts. Here are the general signs of a heart attack that everyone should know:
- Chest pain
- Pain in the neck, jaw and back
- Arm and shoulder pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Extreme tiredness and indigestion in women.
Heart health and diabetes
Heart health and diabetes often go hand in hand. According to the CDC, people with diabetes are more likely to be diagnosed with heart failure, the degenerative condition that impairs the heart’s ability to pump blood. People diagnosed with diabetes are at increased risk of heart disease due to common factors of diabetes:
- Increased bad cholesterol
- A high number of triglycerides (fat in the bloodstream)
These conditions usually have no symptoms and the only way to receive treatment or prevention is through routine checkups or medical tests.
Cardiology Services 24/7
Discover 24/7 access to emergency cardiology services at Red River ER & Hospital. Our skilled physicians and advanced technology are available to treat any heart health issue, from chest pain to stroke, anytime without the wait.
If you or a loved one seeks emergency services and needs immediate medical attention, we provide the concierge-level care the community deserves.
Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, Red River ER & Hospital and Nutex Health state that nothing on this site, regardless of date, should be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your physician or other qualified physicians.