Living Heart Healthy

Our hearts do so much for us. They count on us to take good care of them. Our quality of life and length of life depend on a well-functioning heart. But we often take them for granted.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Visit https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/heart-healthy-living for more information.

February is heart health awareness month. You can lower your risk, especially if you team up with family, friends or co-workers. This kind of support may be the key to your success.

Let’s all work together to get our hearts healthy.  Here are the key things for heart health:

  • Eating a healthy diet.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Getting enough physical activity.
  • Not smoking or using other forms of tobacco.
  • Limiting alcohol use.

Eat Food that’s good for you

Try to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and fewer processed foods. Fill half your plate with fruits and veggies. Eat foods low in saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol. Aim for foods high in fiber. Limit salt (sodium) in your diet to help lower your blood pressure. Limit sugar in your diet to lower your blood sugar level. It also can help prevent or control diabetes.

Aim for a Healthy Weight

Being at a weight that’s not healthy for you increases your risk for heart disease. To know if your weight is in a healthy range, learn your body mass index (BMI). If you know your weight and height, you can get your BMI at CDC’s Assessing Your Weight website. Doctors sometimes also use waist and hip measurements to see if you have excess body fat. To learn your BMI, go to https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/index.html

Do regular Physical Activity

Being active helps you stay at a healthy weight and lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar levels. For adults, the Surgeon General recommends 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week. This includes activities such as brisk walking or bicycling. Children and adolescents should get 1 hour of physical activity every day.

Stop using Tobacco or don’t start

Cigarette smoking greatly raises your risk for heart disease. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for heart disease. Your doctor can suggest ways to help you quit.

For local support to quit tobacco, join a free Tobacco Quitting Information Session offered the first Thursday of every month at 4:00PM by ZOOM or in person at Four Corners. Call Four Corners to register and to learn about local classes to quit tobacco.  Also, visit www.quitnow.ne.gov for tips and tools for quitting. Plus, learn how to get a free two-week supply of nicotine replacement product.

Limit the Alcohol you drink

Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can raise your blood pressure. Men should have no more than 2 drinks per day, and women only 1 per day.

For more on this topic, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov

Call Four Corners for help in keeping your heart healthy: 1-877-337-3573. Or email us at info@fourcorners.ne.gov .