Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. It claims approximately 610,000 lives each year, according to the CDC, and accounts for one in every four American deaths.
Over the years, public awareness around severe cardiac events, like heart attacks, has increased. However, heart disease comes in many forms, some of which are easier to detect than others, and its causes are prevalent in our everyday lives. Stress, for example, is a significant contributor.
While there is no single guaranteed way to prevent heart disease, there are small lifestyle changes that can make a big difference in reducing your risk. In support of American Heart Month, Abarca’s Clinical Team challenges each of our members to take heart-healthy steps, such as:
- Maintain a balanced diet. A balanced diet is the biggest weapon in the fight against heart disease. Consuming a variety of nutrient-rich foods is crucial to managing cholesterol and diabetes, as well as helping to maintain a healthy weight–each of which plays a big role in protecting your heart.
- Get active. Becoming, and staying, active not only reduces your risk of heart disease, but it also boosts your mood and helps fight stress. Research has shown that at least 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity is optimal–but any activity is better than none.
- Get your sleep. Studies have shown a correlation between the amount of quality sleep a person gets and his or her risk of heart disease, cancer, and other life-threatening conditions.
- Be tobacco free. All tobacco consumption, even vaping and smokeless products, can put you at higher risk for a heart attack or stroke. Moreover, secondhand smoke can put the people around you at risk, too. Commit to quit.
- Listen to your doctor. If you are currently taking medication–even if it is not for a cardiac condition–it is critical that you follow the instructions provided by your physician or pharmacist. All medications have side effects, and it can be hard to predict how your body will react, or the stress it could put on your heart.
- Stress less. Find healthy ways to manage your stress, such as meditation, mindfulness, and activities that help you take your mind off of the daily grind.
It is also important to remember that everybody is different, and what might be healthy behaviors for some might not garner the same results for others. That’s why you should always consult your physician before making any drastic changes to your lifestyle.
To learn more about heart disease, and the ways that you can help prevent it, visit heart.org.
This blog was written by Alexis I. Alvarado Alicea, RN, Client Advisor at Abarca