By Naval Medical Center San Diego Population Health Program
February is American Heart Month, and heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. The month of February dedicates efforts towards raising awareness about heart disease and increasing knowledge about prevention.
According to research, in the United States, heart disease accounts for nearly one in every four deaths and is the number one death in women. The good news is that the majority of heart disease is preventable. Even though there are risk factors that we cannot control like gender, age, and family history; there are many factors we can, such as daily lifestyle choices!
Be sweet to your heart by following the simple tips below for better heart health:
- Get regular checkups with your healthcare team.
- Know your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers.
- Embed healthy eating and regular exercise into your routine (just like brushing your teeth).
- Take your prescription medication as directed.
- If you smoke, meet with your healthcare team to set a quit date.
- Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity that makes you break a sweat each day.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet: plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole-grain foods and fish.
- Limit food high in saturated and trans fats and consume more polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
- Limit your salt intake to less than 2300 mg of sodium per day or less than 1500 mg (if you are over the age of 51, African American, have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease) per day.
- If you drink alcoholic beverages, remember to drink in moderation. For healthy adults, that means: up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.