Living A Heart-Healthy Lifestyle

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Living A Heart-Healthy Lifestyle

This February, The Heights Hospital is proud to observe American Heart Month and raise awareness for the importance of living a heart-healthy lifestyle to help prevent the risk of heart disease.

It was not unsurprising that people fell into unhealthy lifestyle behaviors during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown. Limited physical activity and poor diet and eating habits were two common lifestyle behaviors that many adopted. However, these are also two common causes of heart disease.

25% of all deaths in the United States are linked to heart disease. According to data collected from 1999 through 2018 by the Nora Eccles Harrison Cardiovascular Research and Training Institute (CVRTI), this has been the leading cause of death in the country. It was found that the most common type of heart disease is coronary heart disease. This is when arteries struggle to deliver oxygen-rich blood to the heart. Roughly 400,000 people die from this disease annually and individuals with diabetes, excessive weight, unhealthy diets, and inactive lifestyles are especially at risk. 

To help prevent heart disease-related deaths, it is important to know and recognize the most common symptoms: fluttering heart, chest pains, shortness of breath, swelling in lower extremities, and upper body discomfort. Women may also experience different symptoms than men which include: pain in the back, arm, neck, or shoulder; nausea; fatigue; and vomiting. The warning signs for heart disease have been known to appear in individuals as young as 18 years old. Signs such as high blood pressure are significant and should be taken seriously to prevent the worsening of conditions.

While heart disease is dangerous and deadly, it is preventable with the adoption of a healthy lifestyle. In fact, your overall health can greatly benefit from practicing healthy heart habits; you can prevent other serious chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes and certain kinds of cancer. 

The American Heart Association recommends following Life’s Simple 7 to start a heart-healthy lifestyle:

  1. Be active - Get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week.
  2. Keep a healthy weight - Excess weight can lead to fatty material building up in your arteries, clogging them, and leading to a heart attack. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can be helpful in maintaining a healthy weight.
  3. Learn about cholesterol - Reduce the intake of salt, saturated fat, and added sugars.
  4. Do not smoke or use smokeless tobacco - Smokers are 2 to 4 times more likely to get heart disease than nonsmokers. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free help to begin your journey to quit.
  5. Eat a heart-healthy diet - Make healthy food choices like adding more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products into your diet. 
  6. Keep blood pressure healthy - You can monitor blood pressure using easy and safe-to-use self-measured blood pressure monitors at home. Consult with your doctor on how to use one.
  7. Learn about blood sugar and diabetes - Talk to your family and doctor about your health history to learn about possible risks of diabetes.

This Valentine’s Day, The Heights Hospital encourages you to celebrate with the following heart healthy recipes, approved and recommended by the Mayo Clinic:

Tomato Basil Bruschetta 

Crispy Potato Skins

Broccoli, Garlic, and Rigatoni

Grilled Asian Salmon

New York Strip Steak with Whiskey-Mushroom Sauce