Heart Month: Let's Talk About Heart Health
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the USA, causing approximately 1 in every 4 deaths. In Canada, heart disease is the second leading cause of death, claiming approximately 2.4 million adults per year. The term “heart disease” encompasses any condition that affects the heart: heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias), heart defects, heart valve disease, heart infections, blood vessel disease, and heart muscle disease.
The most common cause for heart disease is Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), a blood vessel disease that causes heart attacks. CAD occurs when one or more of the major arteries becomes narrow or blocked due to plaque build-up. Plaque, a waxy substance, can accumulate over time when cholesterol lodges in the wall of the arteries. This can be caused by high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, or high cholesterol levels – almost HALF of all Americans have at least one of these risk factors.
What can you do to prevent heart disease?1. Lower your cholesterol. High cholesterol is often the result of an unhealthy diet and physical inactivity. A healthy diet and regular exercise can contribute to reducing cholesterol levels. Consider taking beta-glucan to help naturally lower your levels.
Make heart-healthy food choices. Limiting the amount of saturated and trans-fat you eat can help reduce your blood cholesterol levels and lower your risk for heart disease.
3. Stay active. Getting physical activity in every day is important because it can lower your blood pressure, improve your blood flow, lower your cholesterol, and help you maintain a healthy weight.
4. Stop smoking. Tobacco in smoke increases the plaque build-up in the artery walls, resulting in a higher change of heart problems and heart disease. Tips on how to quit smoking can be found here.
Smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States.
5. Lose weight. Obese individuals require more blood to supply oxygen and nutrients, which causes an increase in blood pressure. Exercising regularly is the best thing you can do to lower your weight.
Heart disease is also influenced by our biology and other risk factors including diabetes, obesity, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and excessive alcohol use. Consult with your doctor if you think you may have any of these risk factors, and how you can improve your heart health and reduce your risk.
When we take care of our heart, we set an example around us to do the same.
Check in on your friends and family by asking them these questions about their heart health:
1) Have they had their cholesterol tested recently?
2) Has anyone in their family had heart disease, a heart attack or stroke in the past?
3) Do they know the top risk factors for heart disease?
4) What have they done in the past to mitigate their risk of heart disease?
These 4 simple questions can help put heart health top of mind for your friends and family and could end up saving their lives.
Need to make a commitment towards a healthy heart? Take the Cerabeta 30-day challenge to get started. One small change can make a big difference.