February is Heart Health Month—which raises awareness about heart disease and how people can prevent it. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 610,000 Americans die every year—that’s 1 in every 4 deaths! Protecting our heart is one of the most important things we can do—if we don’t, we put ourselves at a higher risk for heart disease. On a happier note, heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions.
Let’s not skip a beat – it’s time to chat and chew about fitness and nutrition tips / guidelines to keep our hearts beating healthy and strong.
Recognizing Symptoms of Heart Disease
Symptoms of heart disease are not to be taken lightly. If you experience major warning signs, seek medical attention right away. Warnings signs include the following:
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Upper body pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or upper stomach
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea, lightheadedness, or cold sweats
Helpful Tips to Prevent Heart Disease
Protecting your heart is the highest priority for preventing heart disease. Besides lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, the CDC suggests taking the following measures:
- Follow your doctor’s instructions and stay on your medications
- Eat a healthy diet that is low in salt; low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol
- Eat fruits and vegetables (4-5 servings per day)
- Don’t smoke
As a friendly reminder, Compass Rose Health Plan members have access to a FREE Tobacco Cessation Program to help kick the habit. Visit www.compassrosebenefits.com/QuitSmoking to learn more or sign-up today.
Heart-Healthy Diet Tips
- Eat more fruits and vegetables that are good sources of fiber — including beans, peas, oranges, bananas, strawberries and apples.
- When fresh foods aren’t available, choose frozen or canned vegetables and fruits in water without added sugars, saturated and trans fat, or salt.
- Choose fat-free, low-fat or reduced-fat cheeses. Dairy products, such as cheese, ice cream, milk, butter, and yogurt, add large amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat to the diet.
- Limit your fat intake—especially saturated fats, which cause your liver to increase cholesterol production.
- Try and eat one serving of grilled or baked fish at least twice a week.
- When it comes to making a sandwich, choose whole-grain, high-fiber breads (i.e. whole wheat, oats, oatmeal, whole rye, and buckwheat).
You can help spread heart health awareness through leading by example—improve your diet and help encourage others to stay physically active as well. Together, you can drastically reduce your risk, and those around you, from experiencing life-threatening heart conditions. Don’t forget to continue the celebration on National Wear Red Day! Help bring attention to the facts about women and heart disease. Encourage everyone in your community to wear red on February 5, 2016.