Technology advancements have powered scientists to create groundbreaking treatments that allow doctors to diagnose and treat heart disease more efficiently than ever. However, we often forget it all begins with us and heart health is no exception.
1. February Is American Heart Month
Since 1963, February is celebrated as American Heart Month. Back when it was announced, President Johnson urged the people of the United States to address the nationwide problem of heart diseases. He encouraged everyone to join forces to solve this life-threatening problem. Johnson’s action marked a pivotal point in the nation’s approach to addressing cardiovascular disease. More than five decades later, remarkable scientific progress has been made both in the terms of prevention and treatment, but the battle has not been won because we forgot that prevention is the best cure. However, prevention is up to us.
1. Common Heart Diseases and How To Spot and Prevent
Heart disease affects the heart’s ability to function optimally. There are many different conditions but the most common one is coronary heart disease when the arteries become narrow or blocked and can’t supply enough blood to the heart. It can lead to both angina or worse, a heart attack.
Although high blood pressure or hypertension is not a disease in itself, it can lead to an increased risk of developing serious heart conditions. Then there are problems with valves which can put a strain on the heart muscle, leading to shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, dizziness, and fainting. Some conditions can also be mild such as arrhythmia which means that your heart is beating irregularly. As long as you notice these symptoms on time, you can catch any imbalance long before it results in something more serious or heart failure.
At the end of the day, our number one enemy is stress. It is a major contributing factor to many leading causes of death, including heart disease. Therefore, instead of stressing about money and whether you will be able to pay for your rent and Columbia Gas bill this month, remember what stress does to your health and learn to manage it because life is too precious and short to let stress get the better of you.
2. Heart Health Tips
Given the heart's never-ending workload, it's a wonder it performs so well without ever taking a break. However, it can also fail due to a poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, and an unhealthy lifestyle. The least we can do is live in a way that doesn’t make our job more difficult by eating and living right.
No ifs, no and, or buts. Your heart and your lungs are requesting it and it is the least you can do for these organs that work 24/7 to keep you going.
Let music heal you
Put a song in your heart. Put your favorite music on and add some pep to your step while you complete your weekly chores and give your heart a little workout.
LOL is just a word. On the other hand, laughing out loud lowers stress hormones, decreases inflammation in your arteries, and raises your levels of high-density lipoprotein (HLD), also known as “good cholesterol.”
Yoga is beneficial for heart health, besides improving your strength, flexibility, balance and mental health. If it’s not your thing, just stretch gently in any way you like to provide your tissues with oxygen.
A glass of red wine and a bite of chocolate a day keeps the doctor away
Dark chocolate not only tastes delicious, it also contains heart-healthy flavonoids that help reduce inflammation and lower your risk of heart disease. A glass of red wine helps in preventing blood clot formation and artery damage, but only one glass a day.
Nuts actually provide heart-healthy fats, protein, and fiber that are good for your health, head to toe. Just don’t eat them too much as they are also loaded with calories.
The next time you feel stressed, angry or sad, go for a walk to clear your head and lower your stress levels. Just don’t bring your cellphone with you, unplug and be open to see the beauty around you.
Get a pet
Pets provide us with more than companionship and unconditional love. Studies show that pet owners are less prone to heart disease.
Although many people develop some form of cardiovascular disease as they get older, heart disease isn’t inevitable. A healthy lifestyle, especially when adopted at a young age, goes a long way in keeping your heart healthy. Start by finding your happy place that will not only make your heart happy, but also your mind and soul, and go from there. Your heart knows the way.