This is our third and final article relating to American Heart Month. I hope this series has encouraged you to take action now to lower your risk for heart disease.
Control your cholesterol and blood pressure. Both can cause heart disease and heart attack. If your cholesterol or blood pressure numbers are high, take steps to lower them through diet, exercise, or medications. Starting at age 18, have your blood pressure checked regularly. High blood pressure often has no signs or symptoms.
Ask your doctor about taking aspirin every day. If you are age 50 to 59, taking aspirin every day can lower your risk of heart attack and stroke. Aspirin is not recommended for everyone. Talk with your doctor to find out if taking aspirin is the right choice for you.
Eat heart-healthy food. Eating healthy helps lower your risk of heart disease. A heart-healthy diet includes foods are low in saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium (salt). Heart-healthy items include high-fiber foods (whole grains, fruits, and vegetables) and certain fats (like the fats in olive oil and fish).
Drink alcohol only in moderation. Drinking in excess can increase your risk of heart disease. Limit drinking to no more than one drink a day for woman and no more than two drinks a day for men.
Get active and stay active. Increased activity helps prevent heart disease. Adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week. This includes walking fast, dancing, and biking. If you are just getting started, try walking for 5 minutes a day and add more activity over time.
Maintain a healthy weight. People who are overweight or obese are at an increased risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. If you are overweight or obese, losing just 10 pounds can lower your risk of heart disease.
Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke. Quitting smoking helps lower your risk of heart disease and heart attack. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) for free support.
Manage stress and enjoy the peace of Christ. Deep breathing and meditation are good ways to relax and manage stress. Frequent participation in the sacraments can have a calming effect on our bodies, minds, and spirits.
If you have any questions about ways to manage your heart disease, please feel free to phone me to schedule an appointment.