February is American Heart Month. As we all know the heart is special because the blood provides your body with the oxygen and nutrients it needs. Our doctors encourage us to maintain a healthy heart through diet and exercise. How do we maintain a healthy heart? Here are several tips to help you keep a health heart:
- Blood Pressure – By monitoring your blood pressure you can ensure that you keep it within a normal range. High blood pressure is often referred to as the silent killer.
- Control Cholesterol – Too much bad cholesterol in your blood can build up on your artery walls, which can lead to heart disease. Individuals who are older are more susceptible to high cholesterol, so getting a physical every year to monitor your cholesterol is important.
- Healthy Eating & Hydration – A healthy weight and consuming nutritious foods are important for you to live a healthy life. Meal planning and preparation can be key to ensuring you are eating the right foods for you. Drinking plenty of water is also key to a healthy heart. Water helps your heart pump blood through the blood vessels to your muscles more easily.
- Sleep – Studies show that failure to get enough sleep can lead to cardiovascular disease. Adults should strive to get 6-8 hours of good sleep a night. If you have begun to have difficulty staying a sleep throughout the night, be sure to address this with your doctor for ways to help you get your full night of rest.
- Stay Active – Exercise is another key element to keeping a healthy heart. As we age it is more difficult to maintain an active lifestyle. Focusing on strength, flexibility, endurance, and balance can help you increase activity while allowing you to keep your movement within your personal abilities.
Heart attacks do not differentiate between men and women, it can affect anyone. However, the signs of a heart attack may differ between men and women. The symptoms of a heart attack are chest discomfort (uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of chest); discomfort in other areas of the body, such as arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach; shortness of breath; and, cold sweats, nausea, indigestion, or light headedness. Men typically experience the chest discomfort and discomfort in arms and back, whereas women typically experience the chest discomfort with shortness of breath, nausea, and indigestion. Women are more likely to suffer a heart attack then men because they tend to dismiss their symptoms as another ailment.