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  • Writer's pictureArwen Rasmussen

Love Your Heart in February



President Lyndon B. Johnson made February American Heart Month to raise awareness for the prevalence of heart disease in the United States over 50 years ago. In 1963, he noted that heart disease was causing more than half the deaths happening in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now estimates that heart disease is responsible for about 25% of deaths annually, but it remains the leading cause of death.


February is the perfect time to make sure that you’re taking all the steps you can to keep your heart healthy. Love your heart by taking steps to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.


Tips to Maintain Your Ticker

Want to reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke by more than 80%? Make sure to put these tips for a healthy lifestyle into action:


• Maintain healthy blood cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Visit your health care provider regularly to make sure your levels are within a normal range.


• Be sure to manage your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes. Work with a physician to determine how often you should be checking your blood sugar and your ideal blood sugar range.


• Maintain a healthy weight for your height. Not sure what that should be? Work with a public health dietitian through the Rock County Council on Aging for more information.


• Quit smoking if you smoke.


• Get at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity weekly and include strength building activity at least twice weekly. Moderate-intensity exercise should make you slightly out of breath. Always discuss your goals with your health care provider before changing or increasing your physical activity levels.


• Limit alcohol intake. The CDC’s Million Hearts initiative recommends that healthy men limit alcohol to two drinks weekly and healthy women limit themselves to one drink weekly to promote a healthy blood pressure. If you have any health conditions or are on any medications, check with your health care provider to see if alcohol is safe for you.


• Manage stress. Seek help if you are feeling overwhelmed or down.


References: Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4 Jun. 2015. Web. 16 Dec 2015. <http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/older_adults/>; Heart Disease Facts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 Aug. 2015. Web. 28 Dec. 2015. < http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm>; Johnson, Lyndon B. “Proclamation 3566: American Heart Month, 1964.” 12 Dec. 1963. Web. < https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/STATUTE-77/pdf/STATUTE-77-Pg1037.pdf>; Million Hearts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2015. < http://millionhearts.hhs.gov/>; National Wear Red Day. American Heart Association, 2015. Web. 16 Dec. 2015. <https://www.goredforwomen.org/wear-red-day/>


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