We all know February as the month to celebrate love, but it’s also the perfect time to take hearts more literally. This is American Heart Month, and healthcare workers across the country are working to spread education and awareness about heart health!

Unfortunately, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. 103 million American adults have high blood pressure, and 6.5 million have heart failure. These stats are certainly bleak, but where’s some good news: a whopping 80% of cardiovascular disease is preventable. It comes down to education and heart-healthy actions that each of us can choose to take every day. Are you ready to create daily habits that will benefit your heart?

  • Know Your Body. Are you aware of your blood pressure and cholesterol stats? The first step is to understand your starting point. Your doctor can help to determine an ideal weight for your body and suggest ways to help lower your cholesterol and blood pressure if needed. It is also a good idea to screen for diabetes. When left untreated, diabetes can lead to heart disease and other health complications. At Family Healthcare of Siouxland, we offer Vascular Screenings that help provide a snapshot of your heart health. We are here to support you on your journey and understanding of how your body and heart function together. Start today.
  •  Move Your Body. Your heart thrives when you get up and go! Whether it’s a brisk walk around the neighborhood with a friend, an exercise class at the local YMCA, or a bike ride around the park, your heart will immediately feel the benefits. The American Heart Association recommends five 30-minute moderate exercise sessions per week. Strength training is also great for your heart, as it improves your overall muscle tone and function. Once you start the habit of regular exercise, you won’t want to turn back!
  • Quit Smoking. If there is just one thing you can do to improve your overall heart health, it would be this: stop smoking. Smoking causes a buildup of fatty substances in your arteries that can block blood flow and lead to serious heart disease. Smoking has virtually zero health benefits. While quitting seems overwhelming, there are many resources available to help: https://smokefree.gov
  • Watch What You Eat. Saturated fats, high-sugar snacks, and processed foods are all enemies of the heart. When eaten in excess, these foods can raise blood sugar, clog arteries, cause weight gain, and generally lead to an increased risk of heart disease. Focus on colorful, natural, whole foods that are rich in nutrients; lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Prioritize Sleep. A healthy body is a well-rested body! When you’re not sleeping, you’re more inclined to put stress on your heart. Eating right, being active, and sleeping an average of 7 hours per night all contribute to your overall heart health. Your heart needs activity and solid rest in order to perform at its best.

What changes can you make to improve the health of your heart? Whether it is reducing sugar intake, getting some exercise, or going to bed at a good time…we are your biggest cheerleaders! Make an appointment with your doctor today to discuss a plan of action for improving your heart health in 2022.

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