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Love your Heart

Heart.jpgFor almost everyone, the key to maintaining a good overall health starts with maintaining a healthy heart. Since February is American Heart Month, it's a good time to look into all the ways you can help keep your heart happy.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women. In the United States alone, about 600,000 people die from heart disease every year.

Coronary artery disease is most common. Cholesterol-containing deposits build up on artery walls, block blood flow, and can lead to a heart attack.

The good news is that following a few simple guidelines can prevent heart disease, such as coronary artery disease.

Avoid smoking or using tobacco. No amount is safe. The chemicals in tobacco damage blood vessels and arteries. Smoking and tobacco use are the most significant risk factors in developing heart disease.

Get regular exercise. 30 minutes of exercise daily can help reduce your risk of heart disease. It can also reduce your chance of developing conditions that stress your heart such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

Eat a healthy diet. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is a heart healthy diet that can help prevent heart disease. People on this diet eat foods that are low in fat, salt and cholesterol like fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains. And they avoid saturated and trans fats by limiting red meat, dairy, deep-fried foods and package snack foods.

Stay at a healthy weight. Weight gain in adults is mostly fat, not muscle. Excess weight can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes – all conditions that increase your chance of heart disease.

Get regular health screenings. You should be screened for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes on a regular basis to ensure you're not at risk for developing heart disease.

Talk to you doctor about your heart health and make sure you're doing all you can to show your heart you care.

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