February is American Heart Month and we want to spread the word about preventing heart disease and motivate you to make some simple changes. Although Valentine’s Day may be over, adhering to a heart healthy lifestyle is the best gift we can give ourselves and enables us to live better and longer for those we love.
Here are some recent statistics from the 2019 American Heart Association and Stroke Statistics*:
- Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States, responsible for 840,768 deaths in 2016.
- The annual cost of cardiovascular disease in the United States was estimated at $351.2 billion in 2014-2015.
- Approximately every 40 seconds an American will have a myocardial infarction.
- The average age of first myocardial infarction is 65.6 years old for me and 72.0 years old for women
- In the US in 2019, coronary events are expected to occur in about 1,055,000 individuals, including 720,000 new and 335,000 recurrent coronary events.
What are you doing today to lower your risk for cardiovascular disease and keep your heart healthy? If you need some help getting started, follow our 4 simple tips below!
- Did you know that up to 45% of cardiovascular deaths are attributable to the standard American diet? Unfortunately, only one in ten adults consumes the recommended servings of vegetables daily (2-3 cups). A healthy diet full of various heart-smart foods is essential to a healthy lifestyle. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and oats are just a few of the heart superfoods. Limit added sugars, saturated fat, and excessive sodium.
- Engage in moderate exercises such as walking, biking and strength training. Do what you enjoy- if you like it, you’ll do it! Although we recommend five, 30-minute moderate exercise sessions it is important to remember that something is always better than nothing. Even several ten-minute walks throughout the day have proven health benefits including reduced all-cause mortality often associated with prolonged sitting.
- Unfortunately, stress has become synonymous with modern life. Stress is when our bodies and minds are overloaded with the residual result of negative experiences or thinking. Stress has numerous effects on the body including increased levels of cortisol, which puts excess stress on the heart and leads to increased risk of cardiovascular disease. When dealing with stress we always want to be our own ally. We encourage you to use mindfulness, deep relaxation, guided imagery and meditation as tools to learn in order to live in peace.
- Smile and love more! Carve out time in your life for enjoyable activities that improve your overall mood. People who feel lonely and depressed are more likely to die prematurely. Smiling and laughing are powerful ways to lead your life. Spend time with loved ones and support others around you-this truly is the best medicine.