February is American Heart Month and Friday; February 3rd, is National Wear Red Day. This is important to recognize because heart disease is not only the number 1 killer of adults in America; it is the #1 killer of adults worldwide. Therefore, February is about raising awareness of heart disease so that all inhabitants of the earth can do their best to protect their heart health. Education is one of the most valuable awareness tools provided to help people do better to improve not just their heart health, but also their overall health too. This heart month consider ways you can make changes to better impact your heart health.
In 1963, the 36th President of the United States Lyndon B Johnson (LBJ) signed into law that February would be honored as American Heart Month beginning the following year in February 1964. In 2004, the American Heart Association decided to make the first Friday in February, National Wear Read Day to provide awareness of heart disease to everyone, but specifically women.
What is Heart Disease?
Heart disease is a disease caused by the narrowing of blood flow and oxygen to the heart. This narrowing is usually triggered by plaque build-up in the walls of the arteries and is called atherosclerosis. Though there are many types of heart disease, coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common. CAD often occurs when the arteries that supply blood to heart muscle become hardened and narrowed over time. Damage that continuously keeps impacting the heart can cause congestive heart failure, making it difficult to supply blood throughout the body. Heart disease is a serious condition that can lead to a heart attack, stroke and even death.
What increases Heart Disease?
The risk of heart disease is increased by living an unhealthy lifestyle which includes poor eating habits, no or very little physical activity, smoking, having high blood pressure, elevated blood cholesterol levels (LDL), extreme stress, being overweight or obese, diabetics, consumption of excessive alcohol, etc.
Heart Attack & Stroke.
Heart attacks and strokes are typically critical or severe consequences that are predominately caused by a blockage that prevents blood from flowing to the heart or brain. The most common reason for this is a build-up of fatty deposits on the inner walls of the blood vessels that supply the heart or brain. Strokes can be caused by bleeding from a blood vessel in the brain or from blood clots.
Signs or Symptoms of Heart Attack:
Chest pain or discomfort (Angina). Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center or left side of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint. You may also break out into a cold sweat.
Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back, in one or both arms or shoulders.
Shortness of breath or palpitations. This often comes along with chest discomfort, but shortness of breath also can happen before chest discomfort.
Unusual or unexplained tiredness and nausea or vomiting. (Mostly women)
**If you witness someone experiencing any of these symptoms or have them yourself, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency response authorities to get help. The sooner help arrives, the better the chances of survival; so, remember to act fast.
Signs or Symptoms of Stroke:
· Face Drooping – Ask the person to smile. Is one side of the face drooping?
· Arm Weakness – Ask the person to raise both arms, does one arm drift downward?
· Speech Issues – Ask an easy question or something to be repeated back to you. Is speech slurred or difficult to comprehend?
· Time to call 9-1-1 and get to the hospital if these signs or symptoms are displayed.
Heart Health Facts:
· Nearly 50% of Americans suffer from some form of heart disease.
· Heart Disease is the #1 killer in the America.
· One person dies every 30 semi seconds from CAD in America.
· 1 in 5 people died from heart disease in 2020. (Roughly 697,000)
· Every 40 seconds someone in America has a Heart Attack.
· 805,000 people in the U.S have a heart attack a year.
· The heart is one of the hardest working organs in the body.
Protect Your Heart Health Holistically
One of the best ways to protect your heart is by being aware. The more you know will hopefully help you take action in the direction of improving your overall health or reversing what you may have done to harm it. Protect our heart health by making healthier choices to sustain longevity. You are in control of what you put in your body or what others may give you to put in your body. Make wise decisions.
· Get rid of the Standard American Diet (SAD).
o Processed foods, sugars and drinks destroy your health, including your heart health.
· Lower sodium intake.
o 2300mg or less a day; 1500mg if you have high blood pressure.
· Get physical.
o Get in 30 minutes of some form of physical activity most days if not every day. Strengthen that heart muscle. Lift some weights 2 to 3 days a week at minimum. (Heavy Bags and filled water or other containers can work as weights substitutes too.)
· Become friends with fruits, veggies and healthy foods vs. processed.
o Consume a plant-based diet, with more than half your plate filled with vegetables; the rest compiled with wholegrains or legumes. Salmon is a heart healthy polyunsaturated protein. Nuts and seeds are good options too. Eating healthy allows the body to obtain all the vitamins and minerals it needs to maintain and thrive with vitality.
o Focus on more natural sugars and in moderation compared to processed sugars which have no nutritional value.
o Try some healthy, nutrient dense meals or recipes.
· Get out in nature.
o Nature can help you release stress. Sit still, listen to nature speak (water, air, animals, trees), write, think, imagine if what ever you want can happen.
o Take deep breaths.
· Be more conscious and mindful.
o Focus on the positive as much as possible to help keep blood pressure normal. (Positive thoughts, words, and environments)
o Talk out loud. (to get stuff off your chest/out of your mind)
o Be aware of what you are putting in your mouth, on your body and in your surroundings. Think about your heart health with every decision. You have a choice every day, every time.
o Be mindful of who you allow in your space. Do they raise your blood pressure often? That is a no-no. (non-negotiable for longevity)
o Be at peace and live in the moment.
o Get enough rest/ sleep each night. (7 to 9 hours)
· Consume unsaturated fats.
o Focus on monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which are more beneficial for living a healthy lifestyle. Though healthier should be consumed in moderation.
· Commit to sticking to a heart healthy plan.
o The old ways must be put to rest to witness change. Dedicate the remainder of your life to keeping your heart beating properly for as long as it can.
· Seek professional help.
o To go along with commitment, if you want change to be implemented in your life for the better you must first agree to commit and then seek help in developing a plan and sticking to it via accountability. Saying you are going to get healthy without taking any actions does not cut it here. Seek out the help of a professional to help guide you.
February is about heart health awareness. Remember you were given a precious body with a pumping heart, do your best to sustain it by keeping it thriving and alive 365. This heart health month, commit to changing your life, by focusing on your beautiful ever flowing heart and the health of it. Wear Red on Friday, February 3rd to show your awareness for the cause. Visit our store to pick up some heart healthy recipes via one of our recipe books or guides curated by credentialed health & wellness professionals to help you start the month off right. If you need further assistance, contact us. Please note spots are limited in February & March due many seeking to transform their health; however, we have a few openings on some Wednesdays & Thursdays.
Your Heart Matters, Your Health Matters, You Matter!
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