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Cardiovascular diseases remain the leading cause of death for people in the U.S. However, 80% of those diseases, including stroke and heart disease, are preventable. Those at risk of heart disease - whether due to genetics or lifestyle - have the opportunity to turn their odds around.
In honor of American Heart Month, here are a few tips on maintaining a healthy heart:
Eat a heart-healthy diet. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute found that a healthy diet is key in preventing heart disease. The first step is to eat foods low in saturated fats and sodium or follow the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. Check out the NHLBI’s recommended list here.
Get active. Regular physical activity can drastically reduce the chances of a heart attack or developing heart disease. Inactive individuals are twice as likely to develop heart disease compared to those that are active. Any exercise is better than no exercise. If you can’t get to the gym or on a 30-minute walk, try out small things like parking your car farther away from your office or getting a standing desk at work.
Get a good night’s sleep. Not getting enough sleep can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease. If your poor quality of sleep continues, that insomnia can also manifest itself in higher levels of stress, poor eating choices, and a lack of motivation to get physical exercise. The CDC recommends sticking to a regular sleeping schedule, keeping your bedroom dark and quiet, and getting enough natural light, especially in the early hours of the day.
Keep track of your heart health. Tracking your cholesterol levels, amount of exercise, blood pressure, and weight can help you meet your healthy heart goals. Getting to know your body and your habits can help you stay motivated and realize what you need to change in your lifestyle. Check with your doctor about how often you should test your cholesterol and blood pressure and consider getting a smartwatch to track your steps to get started.
Quit smoking. Smoking increases plaque buildup in blood vessels which narrows blood flow to the heart and increases the chances of a heart attack. The sooner you quit, the better. A study showed that within four years of quitting smoking, the risk of stroke dropped to that of a nonsmoker.
Spread the word. When more people are aware of American Heart Month, they can educate themselves on keeping their hearts healthy and avoiding cardiovascular disease. Spread the word to friends and family and seek resources to help you get started.
Wellzesta’s focus on physical wellness serves to encourage users to take care of their bodies and overall well-being.
Users can track their physical health with goal setting technology and reach out to each other through Wellzesta to spread awareness about this issue and join or create groups to motivate others.