How to Improve Your Heart Health Today
By Janessa VandenBerge, MPH, CHES®, Community Health Educator, Eau Claire City-County Health Department
In Eau Claire County, 1 in 5 adults have high blood pressure, one of the main causes of heart disease (Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System). Heart disease is also the leading cause of death in Wisconsin. Anyone can develop heart disease. Having high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, or an unhealthy lifestyle can increase your risk for heart disease. “Making a small change can make a big impact on your heart health,” says Ellen Jacobs, Public Health Nurse.
Below are small steps to improve your heart health:
- Learn your heart health numbers.
These numbers include your:
1) Blood pressure
2) Cholesterol levels
3) Blood sugar
4) Body mass index (BMI)
- Maintain a healthy weight. To find out if your weight is in a healthy range, calculate your BMI at https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/english_bmi_calculator/bmi_calculator.html
- Eat a healthy diet. Reach for healthy options like fruits and vegetables instead of salty or sugary treats.
- Move more, sit less. Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days per week. Try walking, swimming, sledding, or snowshoeing!
- Rethink your drink. Drink water instead of sugary or alcoholic drinks to reduce calories.
- Find ways to manage stress. Take a walk, read, meditate, clean, do yoga…find what works for you!
- Don’t smoke or use tobacco. If you need help quitting, call the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line at 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669).
For more information about heart health, visit the American Heart Association at www.heart.org.