Each February, Abarca joins the NHLBI and The Heart Truth® to celebrate American Heart Month by motivating Americans to adopt healthy lifestyles to prevent heart disease. Focusing on your heart health has never been more important. People with poor cardiovascular health are also at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
When we take care of #OurHearts as part of our self-care, we set an example for those around us to do the same. Inspire and motivate yourself and those you love to make heart health a regular part of your self-care routine.
Heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. But you can do a lot to protect your heart and stay healthy.
Heart-healthy living involves understanding your risk, making choices, and taking steps to reduce your chances of getting heart disease, including the most common type—coronary heart disease. Coronary and other types of heart disease cause heart attacks, but by taking preventive measures, you can lower your risk and also improve your overall health and well-being.
Understand Your Risks
The first step toward heart health is understanding your risk of heart disease. Your risk depends on many factors, some of which are changeable and others that are not. Risk factors are conditions or habits that make a person more likely to develop a disease. These risk factors may be different for each person.
Preventing heart disease starts with knowing what your risks factors are and what you can do to lower them.
Your risk of heart disease is higher if you:
- Have high blood pressure
- Have high blood cholesterol
- Are overweight or obese
- Have prediabetes or diabetes
- Do not get regular physical activity
- Have a family history of early heart disease (your father or brother was diagnosed before age 55, or your mother or sister was diagnosed before age 65)
- Have a history of preeclampsia (a sudden rise in blood pressure and too much protein in the urine during pregnancy)
- Have unhealthy eating behaviors
- Are older (age 55 or older for women or age 45 or older for men)
Some risk factors cannot be changed. These include your age, sex, and a family history of early heart disease. But many others can be modified. For example, being more physically active and eating healthy are important steps for your heart health. You can make the changes gradually, one at a time. But making them is very important.
Tips for Healthy Heart Living that you can control:
- Choose heart-healthy foods
- Aim for a healthy weight
- Manage stress
- Get regular physical activity
- Quit smoking
- Get enough good-quality sleep
- Participate in NHLBI clinical trials
- Learn more about living a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Get Your Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Checked
Two of the major risk factors for heart disease are high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol. If either of these numbers is high, work with your doctor to get it to a healthy range.
Join Abarca in our support for National Wear Red Day®
National Wear Red Day® is celebrated on the first Friday of February. Wear red and encourage others to do the same to bring awareness that heart disease is a leading cause of death in the U.S. and that it’s largely preventable.
Learn more about Wear Red Day, including resources and where to donate. Donate now!
Help Abarca support the cause for healthy hearts, spread the word, and let’s help save lives! Ask your health care provider about getting your cholesterol and blood pressure checked today.
*This blog post was written by Erick G. Salas, fourth-year Pharm.D intern at Abarca and MBA Student at NSU.