February is American Heart Month. An annual observance that aims to raise awareness about heart disease prevention and management.
Heart disease can take many forms, including coronary artery disease, heart failure, and stroke. It is often caused by a combination of risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle. One of the most effective ways to prevent heart disease is to adopt a healthy lifestyle. This includes:
A heart-healthy diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, and low in added sugars and sodium. Some good options include nuts, seeds, legumes, and fatty fish like salmon, which are high in heart-protective nutrients such as fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Regular physical activity can help lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, and improve heart health. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week, as well as strength training at least twice a week.
Chronic stress can increase the risk of heart disease, so it’s important to find healthy ways to manage stress, such as meditation or therapy. Getting enough sleep can also help manage stress. A lack of sleep increases the risk of heart disease, so it’s important to get enough restful sleep each night.
American Heart Month is an important opportunity to educate ourselves and others about heart disease and take action to protect our heart health. By making lifestyle changes and seeking medical treatment, when necessary, we can reduce our risk of heart disease and live longer, healthier lives.
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