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Monday, Feb. 8, 2021

Are You Young At Heart?

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The importance of hearthealthy living

Traditionally, February is a month dedicated to “all things love,” but it is also American Heart Month and a great time to ask, “Are you young at heart?” Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans, and being aware of this troubling statistic is vital in influencing those around us to take care of their hearts year-round.

According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke combined) kills more than 2,300 people a day.

Unhealthy lifestyle choices and rising obesity rates in children and adults are constant struggles in fighting heart disease. The promising news is that heart disease, in most cases, can be prevented.

Did You Know? 83% of Americans believe heart attacks can be prevented but are not motivated to do the work.

Prevention starts with a desire for a healthy heart and a decision to make necessary lifestyle changes and healthy choices. These tips are an easy way to take control:

Know Your Numbers – Start by learning the important numbers to understand how each affects the heart. Make an appointment with a primary care physician for a wellness check-up and a check of baseline numbers for blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and blood sugar.

Move More – Any activity is better than none, but a good starting goal is at least 150 minutes a week or about 20 minutes a day. Do not sweat the numbers, though, just move! Being active is vital to overall health and well-being.

Eat Smart – This is a big one. What is on your plate? Eating smart doesn’t mean dieting or giving up favorite foods. Fuel your body with nutrient-rich food that is lower in fat, added sugar and salt. Keep it simple by adding a pop of color to the plate and focus on plant-based foods. Also, aim to eat foods lower in fat, added sugar and salt.

Kick The Habit – Risks for heart attack and stroke are higher in people who smoke. Quitting is not easy, but it is doable. It is a decision that will improve your health and add years to your life.

Maintaining a healthy heart means taking initiative daily by knowing our heart numbers, exercising and eating smart. It also means taking care of body, mind and spirit by getting enough sleep, practicing mindfulness and managing stress. The American Heart Association website, www. heart.org, is an excellent resource full of information and tips to help with success.

“It’s no longer just about wearing red; it’s no longer just about sharing heart health facts. It’s about all of us making a commitment to stand together and take charge of our health so we can live longer, healthier lives,” said Jill Lucero, Northwest Louisiana regional director, American Heart Association.

CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health System is a local sponsor of the American Heart Association. From education and prevention to diagnostics, treatment and rehabilitation, and prevention programs to help lower risk of heart disease, get ready to start on your journey to be “Young At Heart.”

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