February is American Heart Month: Tips to Care for Your Heart

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease kills approximately 659,000 Americans every year irrespective of age, gender and race. Higher level of cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes and excessive use of alcohol are the main causes of cardiovascular diseases. Heart-related disease includes coronary artery disease, arrhythmias, congenital heart defects, heart valve disease, heart muscle disease, heart infection and so on. Since the last 57 years, February has been observed as American Heart Month to raise awareness about the importance of cardiovascular health.

February is American Heart Month: Tips to Care for Your Heart

American Heart Month was launched by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964 and this observance came to stay. The major aim of this initiative is to create awareness about the importance for healthy heart and reduce deaths due to health disease. The U.S. President’s proclamation on American Heart Month issued on Jan 31, 2022 states: “Engaging in regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy diet and weight, managing stress, avoiding smoking and vaping, and getting quality sleep each night can all reduce the risk of heart disease and help people live longer, healthier lives”. The following tips look into this advice in detail.

Tips for Healthy Heart

  • Stop Smoking
    Quitting nicotine is the best thing you can do for your heart. Smoking is the major cause of heart disease. Smoking damages arteries, the heart, and the brain. Clots in arteries that form as a result of smoking are a main cause of a heart attack or stroke. Reports say that smokers are at 2-4 higher risk of developing coronary heart disease than nonsmokers and 2-3 times more likely to die from it. Smoking cessation improves health status, improves quality of life and reduces risk of heart disease and many other serious medical conditions.
  • Exercise Daily
    Physical activities like exercise, workouts, walking and so on are the best way to improve heart health. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of exercise per week.
  • Proper Sleep
    Getting proper sleep is necessary for maintaining a healthy heart. Heart problems linked to poor sleep. The common reasons for improper sleep are stress, intake of caffeine, improper sleep schedule and overuse of electronic devices at night. Get the sleep you need – develop a proper sleep schedule and follow it.
  • Healthy Diet
    Your diet matters a lot when it comes to your heart. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, control portion size, low protein food, healthy grains like farro, quinoa or barley, omega-3 rich fish, nuts, etc. Above all, limit unhealthy fats and junk food.
  • Reduce Stress
    Stress can occur due to work pressure, and any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous. Stress can trigger heart problems. So taking steps to relieve stress is very important for lowering risk of heart disease.

  • Other things to do to maintain heart health include:

    • Reduce alcohol intake
    • Manage diabetes
    • Maintain a healthy weight
    • Get regular health checkups

    American Heart Month is the best time to start focusing on taking care of your heart health. You can also participate in this national campaign by doing your bit to raise awareness about cardiovascular health. Learn more.