February is Heart Healthy Month and the Langlade County Health Department wants you to be healthy! Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States? About every 25 seconds, an American will have a coronary event, either a heart attack or stroke. About 600,000 people die from heart disease in the United States each year – that’s 1 out of every 4 deaths!
There are many risk factors you can control to lessen your chances of developing heart disease. Here are 10 ways to a healthier heart:
- Lower high blood pressure – high blood pressure can lead to strokes, heart attacks, and heart or kidney failure. Blood pressure clinics are held each month in a variety of locations. Call the Health Department for dates and times 715-627-6250.
- Reduce cholesterol – have your cholesterol checked! Do you know your numbers? Diet and exercise can help lower your cholesterol.
- Maintain a healthy weight – excess weight can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, and elevated levels of cholesterol which can cause heart disease.
- Manage diabetes – diabetics are twice as likely to develop heart disease. Have you been tested for diabetes? Talk with your care provider about how to manage diabetes and reduce other risk factors.
- Reduce stress – stress can raise your blood pressure, cause you to eat more, and exercise less. Find ways to decrease stress!
- Quit smoking – smoking greatly increases your risk of heart disease.
- Get regular checkups – Ask your health care provider about any screening tests that you may need to protect your heart.
- Limit your alcohol – Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure and cause extra weight gain.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet – Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products, beans, fish, and lean meats. Avoid saturated and trans-fats. Limit foods that are high in calories but low in nutrition.
- Be physically active – Aim for 30-60 minutes of physical activity per day. Most any type of activity can help your heart. If you are out of shape and do not exercise regularly, contact your doctor before starting an exercise program.
- The chance of developing coronary heart disease can be reduced if you take steps to prevent and control risk factors in your life. For more information, talk to your health care provider or check out: http://www.cdc.gov/Features/HeartMonth/ or http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/