February is American Heart Month. According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in America and the number one killer of women. Even the smallest lifestyle changes can make a big difference to your heart health.
Developing a plan which includes care for your heart should be part of your self-care routine. Researchers define self-care as actions people take to improve their overall well-being; mind, body, and soul. For example- getting daily exercise, eating healthy meals, and managing stress are all good self-care practices. Additionally, taking care of any health problems such as high blood pressure or diabetes are extremely important. Adding meditation, meeting with a counselor, or creating a gratitude journal are good strategies for your soul.
The key to a successful self-care routine, is to plan ahead. Schedule the activities that allow you to take care of your heart, such as exercise or healthy meal planning in advance. Make and keep appointments to see your health care providers.
A heart attack can happen to anyone. According to the American Heart Association, there are factors you can change, and others you cannot change that may put you at risk. By making healthy lifestyle choices, you can reduce some of the changeable factors that put you at risk of having a heart attack. These include lifestyle choices such as not smoking, reducing alcohol intake, making healthy food choices, reducing stress, and staying active. Components you can’t change include increasing age, gender, and hereditary factors. It’s important to understand the risks so you can prevent a possible heart attack.
Warning signs that may indicate a heart attack is occurring can include chest discomfort in the center of the chest, discomfort in other areas of the upper body such as arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach, shortness of breath, and other signs such as nausea or lightheadedness. What should you do if you experience any of these symptoms? Calling 911 is almost always the fastest and best way to ensure lifesaving treatment.
By raising awareness and encouraging people to adopt a healthy lifestyle, the goal is to help people live longer, better, heart healthy lives. The important thing to take note of is that even the smallest lifestyle changes can make a big difference to your heart health. By sharing this important information, we can inspire each other to become more heart healthy. During American Heart Month, make a healthy heart your goal. What self-care changes will you make on your way to better heart health?