February is American Heart Month. According to statistics released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease accounts for about 1 in every 4 deaths in the United States. Though genetics can definitely play a strong role, heart health is largely linked to diet and lifestyle choices that we can control. We’d like to take this opportunity to share some actionable tips for how you can prevent heart disease. Here are some things that you can start doing today to decrease your risk of heart disease:
- Keep Cholesterol In Check: High cholesterol levels lead to clogged arteries and high heart attack risk. Keep up with regular visits to your primary care physician in order to check your cholesterol and identify issues before they get serious. Your doctor will recommend diet changes and may prescribe you medication to keep your cholesterol down.
- Watch Your Blood Pressure: High blood pressure is also a big risk factor when it comes to heart disease. Get your blood pressure checked once a year (or more if you have had issues in the past). Your doctor may recommend certain lifestyle changes to decrease your blood pressure.
- Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet: Saturated fats, sodium, and added sugars are all culprits of added heart disease risk. Eat fresh fruit, leafy green vegetables, and whole grains. Ask your doctor about heart-healthy diet choices if you’re not sure you are getting the right nutrients.
- Exercise Regularly: Exercise improves your blood circulation and strengthens your heart. It also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. The best exercises for your heart are aerobic activities that get the heart pumping.
- Avoid Smoking Tobacco: Smoking is a risk factor for many health complications, including heart disease. Smoking cigarettes will raise your blood pressure, putting you at higher risk for heart attacks or strokes. If you are a smoker, ask your doctor about techniques for quitting.
- Get Tested For / Manage Diabetes: High blood sugar due to diabetes can damage blood vessels and nerves related to the heart. Get tested for diabetes regularly and if you already have it, make sure to keep it under control.
- Form Better Sleeping Habits: Poor sleep is linked to high blood pressure as well as diabetes. If you frequently have issues sleeping, let your doctor know. Most adults need about 8 hours of sleep per night.
- Stress Less: Stress is closely linked to heart issues. If you are under high mental stress your body will respond to it physically. There are a number of stress management techniques including deep breathing and meditation. Ask your doctor about healthier ways to manage your stress.
The majority of adults spend about one-third of their lives at work. That’s why health needs to be addressed in the workplace. OccuMed of New England helps businesses increase employee health and satisfaction with tailored Workplace Wellness Programs that engage and educate employees. Learn more about our services here: Services