And the Risk Factors You Can Help Prevent
Disheartening as it is, 1 in 4 deaths in the US is caused by heart disease, making it the #1 cause of death in the US. Those are some sobering facts, but sometimes sobering statistics are necessary to make an impact. The seriousness of it really touches home, especially if you personally know someone who has or is suffering from heart problems.
Heart disease also carries many risk factors that are preventable, so it’s no wonder why it’s so heartbreaking to see people you love suffer from it. Proper diet and exercise alone can help reverse many of the risk factors.
In order to guide prevention, it helps to know what the biggest culprits of heart disease are, so we can change them.
Risk Factors For Heart Disease
- Smoking: Smoking more than doubles your risk of heart attack as nonsmokers.
- Obesity: Obesity is associated with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, metabolic conditions and many other risk factors of heart disease.
- Physical inactivity: Physical inactivity is often associated with obesity. Your heart is a muscle and just like any other muscle, it weakens without physical activity.
- Salt: Sodium increases your blood pressure and swelling in the body, both of which put unnecessary strain on the heart.
- Trans Fats: Found mostly in packaged foods, trans fats raise cholesterol levels as they slowly plug up arteries.
Just looking at those 5 particular risk factors, it’s easy to see how controllable they are! A few lifestyle tweaks and different choices can make your heart work a whole lot more effective.
Some of those tweaks and choices are a great way to kick off and show support for American Heart Month!
6 Meaningful Ways to Support American Heart Month
- Make sure you and your family are getting 150 minutes of exercise per week. Invite friends and family to work out with you too so more people can reap the heart benefits.
- Find healthier versions of some of your family’s recipes to get in as many fresh ingredients as possible. Be careful with sodium content. If you use canned vegetables, for example, make sure you rinse them thoroughly to wash away the salt. Use non-salt seasonings for taste instead of salt whenever possible.
- Wear red, especially on Friday Feb 3, 2017, National Wear Red Day. The simple act of wearing red and heart accessories helps raise awareness for the cause.
- Participate in the Million Hearts organization’s effort to encourage younger people to have a heart-to-heart with older people they love about heart disease.
- Get involved online, using the hashtags #AmericanHeartMonth and #HeartToHeart to keep the conversation going. Share the healthy meal swaps you’re working on for #2, share your “from the heart” stories, give heart-healthy advice, or spread awareness.
- Stop smoking! It’s the best way to care for your heart and the heart’s of those around you, in more ways than one!
We want to hear…
What do you commit to doing to support American Heart Month?