February is the month to show those close to your heart that you care and love them. It is also a month to draw attention to the matters of the heart during American Heart Month where awareness is raised for leading a heart healthy lifestyle. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one cause of death in the USA; one in every four fatalities in men and women is caused by heart disease, which means a life lost every four minutes.
WHAT IS HEART DISEASE?
As the heart pumps blood into the arteries, plaque may build up in vessels, which narrows the path and causes chest pains. The increased pressure in the arteries causes the plaque to rupture, which damages the lining of the arteries; this causes clotting of platelets, which then might trigger a heart attack. Stimulants can also increase the heart rate and the extra pressure and speed that blood flows can also lead to a heart attack. By knowing how to stay healthy and obtain the right treatment, you can avoid being a victim of heart failure.
WHAT CAUSES HEART DISEASE?
High Blood Pressure
Congenital heart defects
Drug abuse and smoking
Excessive depressants and stimulants (alcohol, coffee, energy drinks)
Coronary heart disease
Valvular heart disease
As you can see from the list above; apart from heart defects, other causes can be prevented.
HOW TO PREVENT HEART DISEASE
Lead an active lifestyle
Exercise your body by being physically active. Exercise not only keeps you mentally alert, it also helps you reduce cholesterol and lose any extra weight, improving blood circulation. Choose an activity that suits your lifestyle. A brisk morning walk is always a good option.
Eat a nutritious diet
This cannot be stressed enough. It is important to eat a balanced diet every day. Cut down on red meat, coffee, processed or fast foods and instead cook at home with fresh ingredients. Ensure you incorporate heart friendly foods like fruits, vegetables and even eggs once in a while. Water is also good for your body and hydration helps with circulation.
Cut back on alcohol/stop smoking
Smoking, including second-hand smoke, is detrimental to having a healthy heart. Smokers are twice as likely to have a heart attack when compared to nonsmokers. Smoking not only damages arteries and causes other types of cancer, the nicotine stimulates adrenaline production, which increases the heartbeat and raises blood pressure. Alcohol on the other hand, when taken in moderation is good for your health. A glass of wine a day improves the immune system but when taken in large quantities, alcohol causes liver damage, heart muscle damage and the extra calories lead to weight gain.
Stress is thought to contribute to increasing the possibility of heart disease. Do the things that bring you the most joy and schedule time for relaxation. When anxiety or stress threatens to strike, take deep breaths and count to 10. Make sure you aren’t choosing a life of stress because it’s what seems natural.
Increase awareness and visit https://millionhearts.hhs.gov/news-media/events/heart-month.html to learn ways to get involved and spread the message of American Heart Month. Take time this month to stop by an Urgent Clinics Medical Care location for a free blood pressure screening. Elevated blood pressure can be an indicator of underlying heart disease. Our clinics are open from 8 am to 9 pm and are conveniently located in Champions Forest, The Woodlands and 3 locations in League City: Creekside, Marina Bay and Tuscan Lakes. Our Pearland Clinic is open 8 am to midnight.