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Celebrate a Healthy Heart! February is American Heart Month

Each year in February, the River Bend Medical family, along with the NHLBI, the American Heart Association, and countless others endeavor to raise awareness about heart conditions and promote heart health.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women.  American Heart Month is a great time to take steps to protect yourself against heart disease.

Here are 10 ways you can celebrate American Heart Month:

heart health doctor
  1. Exercise – Go for a walk, play a physical game, exercise along with your favorite YouTuber, or whatever moves you!  Studies show that getting 30 minutes of exercise a day can lower your risk of heart attack and stroke.
  2. Educate Yourself About Heart Health – Learn about heart disease, the factors that may increase your chances of getting heart disease, and what you can do to make more heart-healthy choices. Talk to your primary care provider to learn your personal risk for heart disease.
  3. Quit Smoking – If you smoke, quit.  Within just a year of quitting, you’ll reduce your risk of heart disease by 50%.  There are many free resources to help you quit smoking including services from Be Tobacco Free  and SmokeFree.gov
  4. Reduce Stress – Constant stress has been linked to a wide variety of health problems including heart disease.  Try to lower your stress level by taking a walk, meditating, listening to music, practicing deep breathing, or taking a restful nap.
  5. Talk to Your Family Doctor – Make an appointment with your primary care physician for your annual check-up.  Not only does your doctor monitor your heart health with tests, because they know your personal history, they can also answer any questions you have about your risk factors and what you can do to reduce your chance of developing heart disease.
  6. Make a Heart-Healthy Meal – A healthy diet and lifestyle are keys to preventing heart disease and you can start today!  Check out these American Heart Association heart health diet recommendations.
  7. Check Your Blood PressureHigh blood pressure increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.  You can get your blood pressure checked at your family medical office, a pharmacy with a digital measurement machine, or at home with a personal BP monitoring kit.
  8. Go to Bed Early – Sleeping 7-9 hours each night is important for heart health.  Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep can increase the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
  9. Invite a Friend – Arrange a lunchtime walk with co-workers, invite family over for a heart healthy meal, or play sports with friends.  Involving other people in our quest to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle not only helps to motivate us but can also help us to feel more connected and cared for which can benefit our overall health.
  10. Wear Red – February 3rd is National Wear Red Day.  Sport your favorite red clothing and spread the word about heart health!

In the United States, a heart attack strikes someone every 43 seconds. However, the fact is that most cardiovascular diseases can be prevented with education and healthy lifestyle changes.  American Heart Month is a time to bring attention to heart disease as a leading cause of death for Americans and promote steps people can take to protect their hearts.

Join us in celebrating heart month by exercising, educating yourself, quitting smoking, reducing stress, seeing your doctor, eating healthy, checking your BP, sleeping, seeing friends, or wearing red!

If you have concerns about your risk of heart disease and would like to speak with one of our caring medical professionals, contact River Bend Medical Associates.  As part of your primary care team, we are here to provide you with the best care in all aspects of your healthcare needs.  For more information on our medical practice, or to make an appointment contact River Bend Medical Associates, or call 916-392-4000.