Celebrate American Heart Month 2016

2016-02-03

Whether or not you're not looking forward to Valentine's Day, there's another good reason to listen to your heart this season: February is American Heart Month. Heart disease is the number one cause of death for men and women in the United States. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to lower your risk.

Manage your blood pressure:

According to the Center for Disease Control, over 70 million American adults (that's one in three) have high blood pressure, putting them at increased risk for heart attack and stroke. Of those who have high blood pressure, only half have taken steps to keep it under control. Often, high blood pressure is not accompanied by symptoms, so you might not even know if you have it. Make knowing your blood pressure a priority this year, and consult your doctor for guidance on keeping it under control.

Learn the warning signs of heart attack and stroke:

Pain in the chest, arms, back or jaw, shortness of breath, nausea and lightheadedness are all signs potentially indicating a heart attack. Signs of stroke include numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg; confusion, trouble seeing or walking, or extreme headache. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately; getting medical treatment as quickly as possible is the best way to reduce the possibility of death or permanent damage.

Commit to quit smoking:

Smoking can cause major damage to the heart and blood vessels, increasing your risk of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. These negative effects can occur even from "light" smoking or secondhand smoke. Quitting is the best way to eliminate the risk of heart disease caused by smoking.

Practice heart healthy habits:

When it comes to keeping your heart healthy, there's no magic solution, just common sense recommendations for healthy living and eating. These include regular exercise; a diet heavy on nutritious grains, fruits and vegetables and low on red meat; and regular rest and relaxation.

Debunk harmful heart myths:

It may or may not be true that everyone has a soul mate; but there are several myths about heart health that are much more dangerous to believe. According to the American Heart Association, this list includes:

  • I'm too young to worry about heart disease
  • I would know if I had high blood pressure because I would have symptoms
  • There's nothing I can do to prevent heart disease because it runs in my family
  • I shouldn't exercise if I have heart disease or have had a heart attack

It's never too early to start taking care of your heart health, so talk to your doctor to find out your unique risks and start taking action today. Go to www.heart.org to find out more.

For any health insurance questions, call or contact Executive Insurance & Financial Services today.

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