February Is American Heart Month

[avatar user=”dponieman” size=”thumbnail” align=”left” link=”https://www.somoscommunitycare.org/who-we-are/diego-a-ponieman”]by Diego Ponieman M.D., M.P.H.[/avatar]

During American Heart Month we at SOMOS want to encourage everyone to adopt healthy heart behaviors in order to prevent heart disease. The most common type of heart disease in the United States is coronary artery disease, which affects the blood flow to the heart and can cause a heart attack.

Heart disease, and the conditions that lead to it, can happen at any age. Did you know that currently, nearly 1 in 3 adults in the United States has high blood cholesterol, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke? And about half of all Americans (48.5%) have at least one of the three key risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking.

Some of the risk factors for heart disease cannot be controlled, such as your age or family history. But there are steps you can take to lower your risk by changing the factors you can control. Here are a few tips on ways you can take control of your heart health:

 

  • Don’t smoke. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, learn how to quit.

 

  • Manage your health. Talk to your doctor or medical provider on how you can manage conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Also, make sure you get your blood tested regularly to help lower your risk of heart disease.

 

  • Have heart-healthy eating habits. Make vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and fish mealtime staples while limiting sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars. Check out our DASH Nutrition page for more information on healthy eating and our plant-based diet initiative to learn how to have even greater control of your health.

 

  • Stay active. We recommend you get moving for at least 150 minutes per week. CDC offers more information on how to get enough physical activity.

 

February is the perfect time to learn about your risk for heart disease and the steps you need to take now to help your heart. We at SOMOS are here for you every step of the way as you work towards a healthier heart!