Cheerful red and pink hearts cover advertisements, and heart-shaped candies can be found in every supermarket. For most, they are a celebration of Valentine’s Day, a day to celebrate love in all of its forms. Here at NATF, they stand for a different type of love, a love of health.
February is Heart Health Month. It stands as a reminder of how important it is to live a healthy life. During a month when we can be so focused on our personal relationships with others, it’s important to consider our relationships with ourselves. We can show ourselves love by embracing a heart healthy lifestyle.
The term “heart disease” encompasses a variety of different health problems. Also known as cardiovascular disease, it encompasses any disease that affects the heart and the blood vessels that surround it. These diseases include heart attack, atrial fibrillation, different forms of cardiomyopathy, arrhythmia, and more. It is a major issue that is the leading cause of death in the USA.
Many of the issues that come with heart disease are related to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis occurs when plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries, causing them to narrow. This is often caused by high cholesterol. Plaque can break off of the wall and a blood clot can form, possibly causing heart attack or stroke.
The key to preventing heart disease is to be conscious of the choices you make in life, especially when it comes to what you eat and how you exercise. Eating healthy and exercising regularly can make a big difference in your life, significantly lowering your risk of heart disease and making you healthier overall. But, it’s also easier said than done. Many of us are very set in our ways and change can be difficult. Instead of jumping into a drastically different lifestyle, try making several small changes over time. You’ll have a better chance of sticking with your new healthy habits.
Here are five lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk of heart disease:
While the idea of heart disease can be scary, you can take control of your risk. Even if you have a family history of heart disease, studies show that you can lower your risk by adopting a heart healthy lifestyle and working closely with your healthcare team to monitor your risk factors.
This February, take the first steps towards a healthier heart. Do it for yourself. Do it for your loved ones.