According to the American Heart Association, nearly 2400 Americans die from cardiovascular disease (CVD) every day. That works out to about 1 death every 37 seconds. Clearly CVD is a serious health threat facing all of us.
The good news is there are simple prevention steps you can take to reduce your risk of heart disease. Here are six things you can do starting today.
1.) Lose weight.
Even a few pounds can make a difference. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute says dropping just 10% of your current weight will lower your risk of heart disease and other disorders. They give guidelines and more information on losing weight and increasing your heart health: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/lose_wt/risk.htm
2.) Put down the Big Mac.
So you probably know fast food is unhealthy and is going to get you and your heart in trouble. But even if you don’t eat fast food you probably have some bad eating habit you’d like to get rid of. The University of Iowa’s web site has simple starting points on how to drop the junk food habit and eat better: http://www.uihealthcare.com/topics/nutrition/nutr4826.html
3.) Get off the couch.
Get moving. Put down the remote, turn off the TV and get off your duff. You don’t have to work out at the gym – there are ways to make exercise fun and a natural part of your already-busy schedule.
Electric bikes are an easy way to add fun and exercise to your life without countless hours of workout time. E-bikes like the Optibike are built for fun, fast and enjoyable rides. You can easily add biking to your day – just ride to the grocery store, to run errands or to work. E-bikes are an easy way to adapt your lifestyle to include exercise in a fun, convenient way! Discover other health benefits the Optibike provides: http://www.optibike.com/content/view/96/143/
4.) Floss nightly.
We’ve always been told it’s important to see our dentists regularly and medical science is backing that up in more ways than one.
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, researchers have linked dental health and heart health. In fact, the AAP’s web site reports people with gum disease can be up to twice as likely to have heart problems as people who have healthy gums. More details: http://www.perio.org/consumer/healthy-heart.htm
Studies have shown a link between heart health and the stress-related hormone, cortisol. So find a way to lighten up! Laugh at a funny joke, listen to some soothing music, smell some lavender or meditate for 15 minutes.
If you need some suggestions The Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital has 38 ways to beat stress: http://www.mbmi.org/basics/mstress_SB.asp
6.) Have a drink.
This isn’t an excuse to relive your college frat party days. Step #6 is drinking in moderation. It has been linked with a decreased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Those six steps are a great way to lower your heart disease risks and celebrate February’s National Heart Disease Awareness Month. Take some time to explore positive choices you can make this month and beyond to ensure you enjoy a healthier, happier life.