In observance of Heart Month this February, Home Care Assistance is raising awareness around heart disease and stroke prevention by sharing 5 tips for heart health. Worldwide, heart disease is a leading cause of death and a major cause of disability. In 2015, cardiovascular disease caused over 17 million deaths worldwide with numbers expected to increase year-over-year.
As part of our commitment to community education around topics related to health and wellness, here are 5 tips to promote heart health!
- Cook for your heart. Eating a heart-healthy diet is one of the best ways to protect your heart. Ideally, a diet that is low in fat, cholesterol, salt and sugar and high in fruits, veggies, whole grains, omega-3 fatty acids and dark chocolate (yum!) has the most heart-health benefits. With this in mind, here are a few of our favorite recipes:
- Quit smoking. Smoking is the second leading cause of cardiovascular disease after high blood pressure with a direct link to almost 10 percent of all cases. More importantly, smoking is 100 percent avoidable. Within five years of quitting smoking, the risk of having a heart attack decreases by 50 percent; this is reason enough to quit if you are currently a smoker.
- Get your heart pumpin’! Obesity can increase the risk of coronary artery disease ten-fold while lack of exercise can double the risk of heart disease. We recommend 15 to 20 minutes of moderate exercise five days per week to workout your body and your heart.
- Reduce stress. With warmer weather right around the corner, the sunshine, fresh produce and easy access to outside activities all come together to reduce stress and promote heart health. Practicing meditation or engaging in your favorite hobby are also great stress relievers and promoters of healthy mind, body and spirit. Research has shown that depression increases the negative effects and risk of heart disease so seek professional help if needed.
- Get routine check-ups. Most important, schedule regular appointments with your primary physician or cardiologist. Follow doctor-recommended advice to control blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and other factors to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
For more information about the risk factors of heart disease and stroke, read our blog “A Healthy Heart is a Happy Heart”. Controlling risk factors by following these 5 heart-healthy tips can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke by 80 percent. If you are encouraging a senior loved one to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle, we recommend texting or calling him or her with motivational reminders; working towards a proactive, healthy lifestyle is easier with a support system!
In recognition of Heart Month, individuals can request complimentary copies of Home Care Assistance’s Patient Guides for Cardiac Rehabilitation and Post-Stroke Care from any local Home Care Assistance office or download a copy from the company’s website. For more information, visit www.HomeCareAssistance.com/HeartMonth.