Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States. As we step into American Heart Month, our team at Workplace Safety Screenings is dedicated to spreading awareness about the significance of heart health and the steps you can take to keep your heart in its best shape. Many heart-related conditions are preventable with lifestyle changes and regular healthcare check-ups.
Understanding Cardiovascular Health
Cardiovascular health refers to the health of your heart and blood vessels, which pump blood carrying oxygen and nutrients to all parts of your body. By maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system, you can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions. Heart disease accounts for 1 in every 4 deaths in the U.S., highlighting the critical need for preventive measures and education on heart health. Take control of your blood pressure. High blood pressure is a factor in 1 in 5 deaths among women. A greater percentage of men (50%) have high blood pressure than women (44%). If your blood pressure is between 120/80 mmHg and 129/80 mmHg, you have elevated blood pressure. Learn more about how blood pressure is measured. You can take steps to manage your blood pressure and keep it in a healthy range.
Tip 1: Adopt a Heart-Healthy Diet
One of the most important ways to improve your cardiovascular health is by adopting a heart-healthy diet. This means including plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins in your meals. Avoid foods that are high in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, and sodium. Instead, opt for healthier fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in olive oil, nuts, and fish. Eating a balanced diet can help lower your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Tip 2: Get Regular Physical ActivityEngage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise each week to strengthen your heart, improve blood circulation, control weight, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart disease. Consult your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise regimen. Key risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle. Diabetics are 2 to 4 times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death among them.
Tip 3: Manage Stress Levels
Stress can hurt your cardiovascular health. It can contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, and other related conditions. Therefore, it is important to find healthy ways to manage and reduce stress. Some effective stress management techniques include practicing relaxation exercises like deep breathing, meditation, and yoga. It is important to prioritize self-care and take breaks when needed to prevent excessive stress. Studies have shown that making healthy lifestyle choices can reduce the risk of heart disease by up to 80%
Tip 4: Maintain a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for good cardiovascular health. Excess weight, especially around the waist, can increase the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. To maintain a healthy weight, it is important to follow a balanced diet and engage in regular physical activity. Aim for a BMI (body mass index) within the healthy range. Limit your intake of saturated fats, sodium, red meat, and sugary beverages.
- Sleep Well: Quality sleep is essential for heart health. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep.
- Limit Alcohol: Drink alcohol in moderation. Excessive drinking can lead to increased blood pressure.
- Stay Informed: Keep up with the latest research and recommendations for heart health.
- Quit Smoking: Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease.