Spotlight on Heart Health in February
In February, we shine a spotlight on heart health as a part of American Heart Month. The month is set aside to raise awareness about heart disease and teach people ways of protecting their heart health. In the spirit of heart health, we challenge you to choose one heart-healthy habit to incorporate into your life this month to improve overall health and reduce the risk for heart disease.
Exercise strengthens your heart and helps keep your weight at a healthy level. You don’t have to hit the gym every day to meet your exercise needs. Instead, choose an activity you enjoy, whether it’s walking, running, biking, or playing basketball. If you haven’t been exercising consistently, start small and build your way to 30 minutes a day, most days of the week.
Eat more vegetables
Vegetables contain many vitamins and nutrients that protect your heart. Including them in your diet is a big part of living a heart-healthy lifestyle. When choosing vegetables, consider eating the rainbow and include vegetables of many different colors to benefit from their different nutrients.
Reduce sodium intake
Too much sodium is bad for our health, and unfortunately, the typical American diet contains far too much sodium. Sodium is a contributor to high blood pressure, which increases the risk of many heart conditions. Aim for less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. Great ways of reducing sodium are eating less processed food and looking for low- or no-sodium alternatives.
Smoking is the number one risk factor in developing heart disease. Smoking is also responsible for one in four deaths from heart disease. The good news is quitting smoking results in almost immediate benefits in reducing risk of heart disease, as the body begins to repair most of the damage relatively quickly. Within a year, the risk of heart attack drops significantly, and within five years, the risk of stroke returns to the level of a non-smoker.
Make an appointment
If you’ve been experiencing concerning symptoms or have been diagnosed with heart disease and are not currently seeing a cardiologist, take some time this month to schedule an appointment. Getting your heart checked out is the first step in developing a treatment plan and protecting your overall health. As a physician-owned hospital, Oklahoma Heart Hospital provides an outstanding patient experience and stays on the cutting edge of diagnosing and treating heart disease.