February is American Heart Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- “Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States.”
- “One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease.”
- “About 18.2 million adults age 20 and older have CAD [Coronary Artery Disease].”
- “In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds.”
- “About 1 in 5 heart attacks are silent– the damage is done, but the person is not aware of it.”
Given the above facts, it’s clear why an entire month is dedicated to making people aware of heart care’s importance. And outside of genetics and variable situations, the Cleveland Clinic says five relatively easy daily commitments give you an exponentially good chance of keeping your heart as healthy as possible.
- Eat healthy fats, NOT trans fats.
- “This is because trans fat clogs your arteries by raising your bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and lowering your good cholesterol levels (HDL).”
- Trans fats “are industry-produced fats often used in packaged baked goods, snack foods, margarines, and fried fast foods to add flavor and texture.”
- Practice good dental hygiene, especially flossing your teeth daily.
- “Dental health is a good indication of overall health, including your heart, because those who have periodontal (gum) disease often have the same risk factors for heart disease.”
- “Studies continue on this issue, but many have shown that bacteria in the mouth involved in the development of gum disease can move into the bloodstream and cause an elevation in C-reaction protein, a marker for inflammation in the blood vessels.”
- Get enough sleep.
- “If you don’t sleep enough, you may be at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease no matter your age or other health habits.”
- “Researchers believe sleeping too little causes disruptions in underlying health conditions and biological processes, including blood pressure and inflammation.”
- Don’t sit for too long at one time.
- “… researchers found that in those who sat the most, there was an associated 147 percent increase in cardiovascular events and a 90 percent increase in death caused by these events.”
- “… sitting for long periods of time (especially when traveling) increases your risk of deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot).”
- Avoid secondhand smoke like the plague.
- “Studies show that the risk of developing heart disease is about 25 to 30 percent higher for people who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work.”
- “According to the American Heart Association, exposure to tobacco smoke contributes to about 34,000 premature heart disease deaths and 7,300 lung cancer deaths each year.”
Harvard Medical School adds to the heart-healthy habits conversation the importance of magnesium in your diet, sharing that “magnesium deficits have been linked with a long list of cardiovascular and other disorders: high blood pressure, heart rhythm problems such as atrial fibrillation, cholesterol-clogged coronary arteries, painful spasms of coronary arteries, sudden cardiac arrest, diabetes, osteoporosis, and more.” In case you’re wondering where to find magnesium, look no further than magnesium-packed food such as dark chocolate, avocados, and nuts, among other foods, as well as supplements such as EMPowerplus Advanced and BMD Advanced.
Don’t Wait Until a Heart Event Happens to Care
American Heart Month ushers both the heartbreaking statistics regarding heart-related deaths and damage to the spotlight as well as transparency on what lifestyle choices give your heart the best chance of a healthy life.
It’s typically not a single decision that causes a heart-related event– it’s a cumulation of decisions that, over time, lead to catastrophic consequences. Start adopting healthy habits now, specifically those just discussed from the Cleveland Clinic, and take your heart health to a whole new level. In a world that often moves too fast, take the time to treat your heart with appreciation and respect.
Author: Evelyn Lindell
Certified Health & Wellness Coach