February is recognized as American Heart Month to bring awareness about the importance of cardiovascular health. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic group in the United States.
With cardiovascular health there are certain risk factors that are out of our control: age, gender, ethnicity, and family history. However, there are many risk factors we can control:
- High Blood Pressure – The higher your blood pressure, the harder your heart must work to pump blood. This causes your heart muscle to thicken and become stiff causing the heart to function abnormally. Normal blood pressure is below 120/80.
- High Blood Cholesterol – If too much bad cholesterol (LDL) is circulating in your blood, it can build up on the artery walls. This buildup can cause blood clots to get trapped leading to a heart attack or stroke. LDL levels should be below 100 mg/dl or lower.
- Smoking – Nicotine, one of the chemicals in cigarettes and e-cigarettes, causes your heart to beat faster and blood pressure to rise. Smoking also promotes buildup of plaque in your arteries making it more likely for clots to form.
- Physical Inactivity – Being active can help control blood cholesterol, blood pressure, and obesity. Adults should aim for a least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity – such as brisk walking.
- Obesity/being overweight – Individuals are more likely to develop heart disease if they have excess body fat, especially if the weight is at the waist. A 3% to 5% reduction in weight may lead to significant reduction in some risk factors. Using a combination of nutrition and physical activity is the most effective way to lose weight effectively.
Individuals looking for more information about cardiovascular health, please reach out to the HealthWise department at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-629-2220 ext. 12302
Take Charge. Live Well!