5 Things to Do for Heart Month

5 Things to Do for Heart Month

This month is dedicated to creating awareness on how to prevent heart related diseases. It is on record that heart diseases constitute the greatest to the number of deaths in the United States with about 63,000 deaths yearly. Because of this and several other heart conditions, the United States set out the month of February as the American Heart month.

Here are a few things you can do or learn during this month:
1. Voice Your Support
Throughout the month there are events that you can attend or participate in to get the word out. 

  • February 5: National Wear Red Day, user #goredwearred
  • February 7-14: Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Week
  • February 11: Red Dress Collection and Fashion show, #reddresscollection
  • February 14-20: Heart Failure Awareness Week
  • February 16-19: International Stroke Conference

There is also the heart walk in which you can participate to show support. You can attend one near you by going here: http://www.heartwalk.org/site/c.flKUIeOUIgJ8H/b.8939141/k.BF2C/Heart_Walk_Save_Lives_from_Heart_Disease__Stroke.htm#nearyou

2. Know the Difference between a Heart Attack and Heart Failure
A heart attack is the blockage of the arteries supplying blood to the heart. This blockage could be caused by clotting of the blood, high cholesterol and calcium, inflammation of the arteries, etc. Having a heart attack could cause some heart muscle to die.

Heart failure on the other hand, doesn’t actually mean the heart has failed or has stopped working. It occurs when the heart doesn’t pump blood forward as it is supposed to. This condition can be a result of a heart attack. Unlike a heart attack, which is the loss of blood flow to a part of the heart, heart failure can cause backups into the body.

3. Learn about the difference between Heart Attack Symptoms for Men & Women
Many people don’t know that men and women can have different symptoms for heart attacks apart from the typical numbness/pain on the left arm.

In men: They include irregular heartbeat, stomach discomfort, chest pains and discomfort on the upper part of the body, and/or dizziness.
In women: They include lightheadedness, anxiety, sleep disturbances, chest pain, sweating, fatigues that linger for days, shortness of breath, jaw pain and/or warmth throughout the body.

4. Get Heart Tests
The typical heart tests that help in measuring the strength of your heart include a stress test and a simple blood workup. However, these tests might not necessarily detect future heart attacks or correctly assess the condition of your heart. For instance, you can get a Cardiac Calcium Scoring Test. This test scans for atherosclerotic plaque in your heart’s arteries, which is one of the major signs of coronary artery disease and the leading cause of heart attacks. 

Here’s a list of several heart tests you can take: http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/heart-attacks-7-heart-tests-can-save-your-life 

5. Practice Healthy Food and Exercise Habits for Your Heart

Heart healthy foods/drinks include: 

  • Drinks: Decaffeinated green tea, orange juice and grape juice
  • Fruits: berries, grapefruit, melon, bananas are some delicious examples 
  • Grains: whole wheat, wheat bran and oats. 
  • Fish: Specifically, salmon and anchovies will help your maintain a steady rhythm
  • Veggies: Kale, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cabbage
  • Nuts: Eating more than five ounces of nuts a week can reduce heart disease or heart attacks by 1/3. 
  • Olive oil: Replace your butter will olive oil. This might not sound like much, it could reduce the risk of heart disease by 20%.

Finally, avoid consuming large amounts of total fat, saturated fats, cholesterol, red meats, sweets and beverages, etc.

Aerobic exercises are of great help to our hearts. These include yoga, strength training sessions, running, biking and others. Start and end your day with stretching. 

Contact your health care provider to asses your particular situation. Dr. Reyes can help you get a start on creating healthy habits to be heart healthy. Schedule your appointment for an assessment: 305-445-3372
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