American Heart Month
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. With February being American Heart Month, now is a great time to commit to leading a heart healthy lifestyle.
What is Heart Disease?
Heart disease includes numerous problems, many of which are related to a process called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a condition that develops when a substance called plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries. This buildup narrows the arteries, making it harder for blood to flow through. If a blood clot forms, it can stop the blood flow. This can cause a heart attack or stroke.
Who is at Risk for Heart Disease?
Heart disease affects both men and women. According to the CDC, about half of all Americans have at least one of the three key risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking. Additionally, obesity and uncontrolled diabetes can contribute to your risk for developing heart disease. Some of the risk factors for heart disease cannot be controlled, such as your age or family history. But you can take steps to lower your risk by changing the factors you can control.
Medical Director Dr. Brian Aldred says, “Do not ignore the warning signs of heart disease such as chest pain, shortness of breath (especially with exertion), irregular heart beat or palpitations, and dizziness or fainting spells. If any of these symptoms are severe, you should call 911. One of the best healthy lifestyle interventions to reduce your chance of heart disease and strokes is following the Mediterranean diet.”
What Can You Do To Lower Your Risk?
The best way to help prevent heart disease is to lead a heart healthy lifestyle. By living a healthy lifestyle, you can help keep your blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar levels normal and lower your risk for heart disease and heart attack. A healthy lifestyle includes the following:
1. Eating a healthy diet.
Eating foods low in saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol and high in fiber can help prevent high cholesterol. Limiting salt (sodium) in your diet also can lower your blood pressure.
2. Maintaining a healthy weight.
If you have too much fat — especially around your waist — you’re at higher risk for health problems, including high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
3. Getting enough physical activity.
Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar levels. For adults, the Surgeon General recommends 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, like brisk walking or bicycling, every week.
4. Not smoking or using other forms of tobacco.
Smoking damages the lining of your arteries, leading to a buildup of fatty material (atheroma) which narrows the artery. This can cause angina, a heart attack or a stroke.
5. Limiting alcohol use.
Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can raise your blood pressure.
Take The Five Star ER Heart Health Challenge
During the month of February, Five Star ER is challenging everyone to start one new heart healthy behavior and keep it going all year long! Not sure how to get started? Look at these ideas!
1. Check your blood pressure
2. Quit smoking
3. Add 10 minutes of exercise to your daily routine
4. Swap one unhealthy food for one healthy food
5. Lower your sodium intake by using spices instead of salt while cooking
6. Learn to better manage stress and anger
7. Know your family’s history of heart disease
8. Reduce your alcohol use
9. Know the signs of a heart attack and stroke
10. Involve your family and friends!
About Five Star ER
Five Star ER is locally owned and operated by the physicians of Emergency Service Partners, L.P., a respected provider of emergency physician services to hospitals and health systems across Texas for more than 28 years. Our experienced physicians bring their excellent tradition of emergency care to a first-class, patient-centered freestanding ER.
Our patient-centered care means you will come first. Our freestanding ER provides the capabilities of a hospital emergency department, without the hassles and long waits that can be part of a hospital ER. From the comfortable lounge area and private exam rooms to our top-notch medical team and latest technology, patients can be door-to-doctor in less than 15 minutes. To find the location nearest you, click here.
This content was created to be purely educational in nature. This post is not meant to be used as a substitute for medical treatment or personal consultation regarding a medical condition. As always, if you or a loved one is suffering a life-threatening medical emergency or injury, call 911.