PUBLISHED02/16/2017

Heart health Month

Daily Activities That Can Improve Heart Health

February has officially been named American Heart Month by the American Heart Association. This month brings awareness to heart disease, a leading cause of death in men and women throughout the Nation. The American Heart Association works annually to bring awareness of this disease. Luckily, heart disease is preventable through lifestyle changes and managing existing problems. So, what are some things you can do to keep your heart healthy?


 

Move from Trans Fasts to Healthy Fats

Most individuals’ diets should be balanced between healthy greens, proteins, and fats. Fats are either saturated, polyunsaturated, trans, or unsaturated. However, trans fats have been known to increase the risk of individuals developing heart disease or having a stroke in their lifetime. Trans fats can clog the arteries, raise harmful cholesterol levels (LDL), and lower the good cholesterol (HDL). Cutting trans fats from a diet can improve the blood flow throughout the body. These fats are found in packaged baked goods, snack foods, fried fast foods, and margarine. However, reading food labels may not be enough to eliminate these fats. Look at the ingredients listed as partially hydrogenated oils.


 

Good Dental Hygiene

While it may not seem connected, good dental practices are also crucial to heart health. Dental health is a good indication of overall health, including the heart, due to gum disease. Gum and periodontal disease often carry the same risk factors as heart disease. Some studies have shown that the bacteria in the mouth that develops gum disease can move into the bloodstream and cause an elevation in C-reactive protein, which is a cause of inflammation in the blood vessels. This inflammation can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Brushing and flossing daily can ward off gum disease.


 

Get Some Sleep

Sleep is an essential part of heart health. Getting enough sleep may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. A study looked at 3,000 adults over 45 and found that those who slept fewer than six hours per night were at twice as much risk of a heart attack or stroke as those who slept eight hours or more. Many researchers believe sleeping too little could cause disruptions in underlying health conditions and biological processes. Making sleep a priority is an essential part of heart health.


 

Avoid Smoke

From secondhand smoke to smoking, avoiding smoke is essential to heart health. According to the American Heart Association, exposure to tobacco smoke contributes to nearly 34,000 premature heart disease deaths and 7,300 lung cancer deaths per year. Even nonsmokers with high blood pressure or cholesterol are at greater risk of developing heart disease when exposed to secondhand smoke. This is due to the chemicals emitted from the smoke that promote the development of plaque buildup in the arteries. Avoiding smoke or quitting can help a person avoid eventual heart problems.

Heart health should always be on your mind, especially during American Heart Month. Keep your heart healthy this month and throughout the year with these daily heart-healthy tips.


 

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