February is American Heart Month, and it's a great time to learn more about your heart health. Heart disease, which includes stroke and high blood pressure, causes one out of every three deaths in America. Heart disease is also a leading cause of serious illness and disability.
Almost half of all Americans have at least one major risk factor for heart disease, such as obesity, diabetes or an inactive lifestyle, but many don’t recognize the warning signs.
You can prevent heart disease by committing to eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and not smoking. Here are some steps you can take this month and beyond to prevent heart disease.
If you smoke cigarettes, quitting can dramatically reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. If you need help quitting, contact the Goshen Smoking Cessation program.
See your doctor often.
Visit your healthcare provider regularly, even if you’re not sick. Make sure to discuss your heart health, and partner with your provider to set and achieve goals for improving your health.
Get your blood pumping.
Make exercise a part of your daily routine. If you’re just starting out, take a 15-minute walk three times a week. After a couple of weeks, bump it up to 30 minutes, three times a week.
Eat a heart-healthy diet.
Cooking at home helps you control what goes into your food and cuts out ingredients that can harm your heart, like saturated and trans fats. Here are some excellent heart-healthy recipes to try. To make your food even more heart-healthy, swap out salt for fresh or dried herbs and spices.
Take your prescribed medications.
If your healthcare provider thinks you need to be on high blood pressure and/or cholesterol medications, take them as directed. If you’re experiencing side effects, reach out to your provider. If you can’t afford your medications, your healthcare provider may be able to help with medication assistance.
In recognition of American Heart Month, Goshen Health will be offering heart screenings on February 9. This is a great opportunity to give your heart the thorough check-up it needs. Screenings offered will include blood pressure, cholesterol, echocardiogram and vascular.
Contact a primary care provider with Goshen Physicians to learn more ways to care for your heart.