ahaFebruary is American Heart month.  We thought it would be best to focus on the American Heart Association (AMA) and way’s we can make a difference in our hearts and those we love.

Did you know, according to the American Heart Association, “heart disease is the leading cause of death in women and is more deadly than all forms of cancer.” Choose to make a difference in your heart today by including some of these healthier habits.  

  • Eat a healthy diet. Choosing healthful meal and snack options can help you avoid heart disease and its complications. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables—adults should have at least 5 servings each day. Eating foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol and high in fiber can help prevent high cholesterol.

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for heart disease. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, doctors often calculate a number called the body mass index (BMI).  Doctors sometimes also use waist and hip measurements to measure a person’s body fat.

  • Exercise regularly. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Doctors suggest 30 min of cardio 3-4 times a week.

  • Monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure often has no symptoms, so be sure to have it checked on a regular basis.  

  • Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quit as soon as possible. Your doctor can suggest ways to help you quit.

  • Limit alcohol use. Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can increase your blood pressure. Men should stick to no more than two drinks per day, and women to no more than one.

  • Have your cholesterol checked. Your healthcare provider should test your cholesterol levels at least once every 5 years.

  • Take your medicine. If you’re taking medication to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Always ask questions if you don’t understand something.

AHA is focusing on women’s heart health this month, but all of these habits can be incorporated into your life, male or female, young and old.  So take a minute this month, understand your health risks and choose to do better.