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American Heart Month

Posted by Julian Torres, "JT" on Feb 19, 2024 5:17:13 PM

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Way back in 1964, President Lyndon Johnson issued a proclamation declaring February as American Heart Month. The idea behind the proclamation was to educate the public on the challenges of heart disease and encourage everyone to learn more about their own health while seeking answers to their own specific heart health challenges.

Heart disease currently ranks as the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. And while personal health should be maintained throughout the year, American Heart Month represents a chance for everyone to learn more about how heart disease can be prevented.

Understand Your Personal Risk

Everyone knows terms like “heart attack” and “cardiac arrest,” but not everyone understands how widespread the dangers of heart disease tend to be in this country. And a big reason for that lack of knowledge rests with not being informed about your own medical history and personal risks. 

A family history of heart disease does not guarantee you will definitely suffer a heart attack, but being aware of that history can help you take steps to avoid heart disease. That’s why regular visits to the doctor should be encouraged.

Eat Healthy

Once upon a time, the idea of eating healthy would conjure images of a life spent eating nothing but salads and tofu. Thankfully, we have a better understanding about how food reacts with our bodies, so the idea of eating healthy has expanded to match that knowledge.

When maintaining a healthy diet, it’s important to remember that “eating healthy” means “eating healthy for you.” So if you’ve got fears of having to drink nothing but kale shakes, take a breath and relax. Creating a specified healthy diet that meets your unique needs requires an understanding about your body and your medical history. For many people, eating healthier could just ordering carrot sticks to go with your sandwich or eating more heart-healthy foods like salmon.

You don’t have to sacrifice flavor and fulfillment to eat healthy.

Get Active

If you don’t like the idea of buying a gym membership and having to exercise with total strangers several times a week, you can still get active in other ways.

People frequently confuse “being active” with “training for a triathlon in a northeastern winter,” and there’s a huge difference. Depending on your health history and your specific health goals, being active could just mean going for a walk every day. No small amount of physical activity can be considered bad; it’s just more important that you get active at all.

Check Your Blood Pressure

This part can be awful if you don’t like tests, but it’s important to monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol to make progress on your health goals.

When checking your blood pressure, be careful not to rely solely on blood pressure machines found in drug stores or supermarkets. It’s better to purchase your own blood pressure machine and perform at-home tests. It may also help to have someone you trust, such as a family member, to perform the blood pressure test with you.

Learn More

Whatever you learn about your specific heart health challenges, remember to take advantage of the resources available to educate yourself on heart disease. The American Heart Association provides more information about heart disease, including how to tell the difference between cardiac arrest and a heart attack.

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