Matters of the Heart

Matters of the Heart


February is American Heart Month—when medical professionals ask people to pay attention to their cardiovascular health. This year, the focus is on encouraging women to take charge of their heart health because, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the U.S. However, everyone should take their heart health seriously by speaking with their doctor if they experience any irregularities in their heart. You should also educate yourself about the risk factors and seek ways to improve your cardiovascular health before it’s too late.

You can take action to improve your heart health and prevent heart disease by having an active lifestyle, choosing heart-healthy foods, and avoiding things that stress your heart, like stress that causes hypertension. The Mayo Clinic published an article that connects stress and high blood pressure, stating, “Stress can cause shortterm spikes in blood pressure.” While there is no indication of the longterm impact stress has on high blood pressure, over time, it may adversely affect your well-being.

The Mayo Clinic and other health care professionals recommend exercising 3-5 times a week for 30 minutes to lower stress levels, reduce high blood pressure, and improve heart health. You do not need to exercise at the gym; you can stroll in the park or around the neighborhood. You can also join us for low-impact aerobics at the Refuge on Mondays and Wednesdays or chair fitness at the Senior Cub Center on Tuesdays.

Also, you can improve your heart health by making simple dietary changes. The American Heart Association published nutritional guidelines that promote heart health. Many dieticians and nutritionists agree that following a Mediterranean Diet or the DASH diet is excellent for your heart. A simple solution entails reducing sodium and adding fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds to your diet.

Take matters of the heart into your hands by being proactive, and always talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise or diet program.