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Celebrating American Heart Month

HEART MONTH BLOG GRAPHICThis month you’ll see plenty of red hearts everywhere, but it’s not just for Valentine’s Day. February is also American Heart Month, which is the perfect time to focus on your heart health and raise awareness about cardiovascular disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cardiovascular disease remains the number one cause of death for both men and women in the US. While it’s true that there are many factors about your health that out of your control – such as age or family history – you can still make small changes to your everyday lifestyle that will have a big impact on your heart health.

  • Be physically active. Adding some kind of physical activity to your daily routine will benefit your cardiac health by lowering your blood pressure, improving circulation, and maintaining good cholesterol levels. But you don’t have to log in hours at the gym to see any results. Even brisk walking for 15 minutes several days a week is enough to put you on the right track towards a healthy heart.
  • Make healthy food choices. Did you know that the recommended sodium intake per day is only one teaspoon of salt? However, most Americans consume approximately 4,000 mg of sodium every day, according to a study published by Harvard Medical School. That’s nearly double the recommended amount! Excess sodium not only contributes to hypertension but can also cause the body to retain fluid, which can develop into serious conditions such as congestive heart failure.
  • Stop smoking. Cigarettes are composed of thousands of harmful chemicals, including nicotine, lead, ammonia, and carbon monoxide. With each puff of a cigarette, these chemicals travel from the lungs into the bloodstream, carrying the toxins to every organ including the heart. Even smoking just a few cigarettes a day can have produce devastating effects on your cardiovascular health.
  • Know your numbers. With the American Heart Association’s new guidelines that redefine high blood pressure, it’s more important than ever to frequently check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels as these results can oftentimes detect early stages of cardiovascular disease.

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