February is American Heart Month

Nine years after his own heart attack, in February 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared February National Heart month to raise awareness about the impacts of heart disease. For the last 50 years, heart disease has remained the leading cause of death in the United States. Science and medicine have developed many tools to help us live longer and combat illness, but awareness and screening are still important today. Heart disease is preventable in most cases. Getting a regular check up with your doctor and age appropriate screenings for heart disease are most important. Following the advice and prescription recommendations of your doctor to keep blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure within normal range are also critical to combating heart disease.

Here are a few other things within your control that will also help in prevention:

Get Moving

Regular physical activity is an essential part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise 5 times per week can help seniors improve their heart health and lower blood pressure.

Manage Stress

Chronic stress and anxiety are risk factors for cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association. If you are experiencing anxiety or are feeling stressed, try practicing deep breathing, stretching, petting a dog or cat, talking with a friend, or going for a short walk. Focusing on hobbies and activities you enjoy can also help relieve stress and improve your overall mood.

Get Enough Sleep

Frequent sleep deprivation and poor sleep quality can cause disruptions in your metabolism, blood pressure, and inflammation, which may lead to an increased risk of heart disease. Older adults need around eight hours of quality sleep each night. To improve sleep quality, try establishing a bedtime routine and avoid excess caffeine and alcohol in the daytime. If you would like to help raise awareness about the impacts of heart disease on women, you can join in the National Go Red Day on Friday February 5th by donating and/or wearing red.

For more information visit: www.goredforwomen.org