Welcome to Heart Health Month, the perfect time to evaluate your health and make some heart-healthy changes. You do not have to apply a radical change or deprive yourself of all the foods you love to enjoy a healthier lifestyle and improve your heart health.
A few simple changes, like reducing the amount of sodium in your diet and getting more exercise, can give you a new lease on life and help you celebrate Healthy Heart Month. Here are some great ways to celebrate Healthy Heart Month and enjoy a healthier year.
Tips for Preventing Heart Disease
Treating heart disease is always an option, but preventing it is even better. Knowing what leads to heart disease can help you protect yourself and make the appropriate changes going forward.
Stress is a big contributor to heart disease, so find creative ways to relax. Whether you quietly meditate every morning, take an invigorating walk around the office park on your lunch, or end the day with a soothing bubble bath, fighting stress is a great way to fight heart disease.
Diet plays a huge role in heart health, so think about what you eat day to day. Trade in your salty potato chips, which are packed with unhealthy sodium, for healthier snacks like popcorn and trail mix. Seek out heart healthy recipes when you cook at home, and look for heart-healthy choices when you eat at your favorite restaurants. There are plenty of ways to eat healthier, all without giving up the foods you love.
Get More Exercise
Eating right is critical to heart health, but so is moving and getting plenty of exercise. You do not have to run a marathon or do jumping jacks every morning, there are plenty of other ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
Force yourself to walk more by parking at the far end of the parking lot instead of right by the door. Take a stroll around the neighborhood and meet the neighbors. Leave your car in the driveway one or two days a week and bike to work instead. Join a local league for your favorite sport and enjoy some heart-healthy fun and camaraderie. Incorporating exercise into your everyday life is great for your mood and your heart health.
Know the Warning Signs of a Heart Attack
Hopefully all your heart-healthy improvements will pay off, and you will never suffer a heart attack. Even so, it is important to know the warning signs of a heart attack, so you can help yourself or a loved one if the time ever comes. Here are some of the most common signs of a heart attack.
- A feeling of pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest.
- Chest pain that lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back.
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms.
- Pain in the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath, even without chest discomfort.
- Breaking out in a cold sweat.
- Nausea or lightheadedness
Heart attack symptoms are different for women and men. It is important to understand this distinction and to be aware of the warning signs. For women as well as men, the most common symptom is chest pain, but women may also experience shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, and pain in the back or jaw.
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should call 911 right away. You cannot afford to wait or second guess yourself if you think you might be having a heart attack, so pick up the phone and get some help. When it comes to heart attacks, overreacting is always better than not reacting at all.
Go RED all month for #HeartHealthMonth!