By Pinn Duong
February is not only the time to give out hearts to your loved ones, but also the time to take care of your own heart. February is American Heart Month, first proclaimed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964 to raise awareness and urge Americans to adopt a healthy lifestyle against the battle of heart diseases. As the leading cause of death for both men and women in the US and globally, American Heart Month pays tribute to health professionals, researchers and volunteers for their tireless battle in preventing and treating heart patients.
Heart diseases spare no one, not even the youth. The good news is that 80% of heart diseases are preventable. Below are some age-old critical reminders to ‘stay young at heart’, and prevent it from aging prematurely:
- Keep a hearty diet of low-trans fat, low-saturated fat, low-sugars, and low-salt foods. 90% of Americans are consuming too much salt via pizza, pasta dishes, cold cuts, chicken and yeast breads, which are the top 5 foods that dominate American salty diet.
- Stay active with two to three sessions of 10-15 minutes of exercises through out the day. Being active doesn’t mean toiling in the gym for hours. Something is always better than nothing; don’t give into the taking the elevator when you can take the stairs.
- Track your numbers on weight, blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Manage a healthy weight.
- Screen for diabetes, which can lead to heart disease if left untreated.
- Manage stress via mediation, exercise, and healthy relaxing techniques. Coping with stress using alcohol, smoking, or overeating is a huge no-no. You can even manage stress with proper breathing techniques for just 10-20 min /day. Laughing can increase healthy blood flow through your body by 22%.
- Keep a high-quality sleeping pattern to restore your body and mental health. Sleep deficiency promotes weight gain, diabetes, and cause low-grade inflammation inside blood vessels that lead to heart diseases
Say NO to:
- Smoking. The nicotine in smoke reduces how much oxygen your heart gets and raise the risks of blood clots.
- Excessive alcohol use. Overdrinking alcohol causes irregular heartbeats (called atrial fibrillation), which increases your risks of stroke, heart attack or heart failure. The American Heart Association suggests no more than one drink per day for women and two for men.
- Newborn babies have the fastest heart beats of 70-190 / min while an average adult has a resting heart rate of 60-100 beats / min. A regularly trained athlete has an even slower resting heart rate of 40-60 beats / min.
- Before the invention of stethoscope, doctors had to press their ears into the patient’s chest to detect heart beats.
NOT-SO-FUN FACTS ABOUT HEART
- One person dies every 37 seconds in the US from cardiovascular disease. By the time you finish reading this blog, we might have lost another six Americans to heart disease.
- Heart attacks happen most often on Monday mornings. A rise in stress hormones and blood pressure cause heart blockages.
- Heart attacks peak on Christmas Day, Dec 26th and New Year’s.
- Your heart works twice as hard as the leg muscles of a sprinter. So do take care of your heart and give it a lot of love.
Featured image: designed by Freepik.