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Understanding Heart Health

Understanding Heart Health

According to the American Heart Association 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease every year in the United States, making it the leading cause of death for both men and women in the country. Heart disease damages the blood vessels of the heart causing heart attack. A heart attack happens when an artery becomes blocked, preventing oxygen and nutrients from getting to the heart. It is important to know that heart disease is a lifelong condition, once you get it, you'll always have it, even if you manage it with medication or have to resort to surgery. Nearly half of all Americans have at least one risk factor for heart disease so each February during American Heart Month, we strive to bring awareness to this very preventable disease. While improving your health can often seem like a daunting task, making small changes can be easy and will still have a big impact on your heart health.

Know Your Risk

Knowing whether or not you are at higher risk for getting heart disease can be the first step in taking action. A family history of heart disease, diabetes or stroke will put you at greater risk of heart disease as will your age; as your age increases so does the risk factor. Smoking and even exposure to second hand smoke can also increase your chances. Finally, obesity, which affects 35% of Americans, is one of the largest risk factors associated with heart disease.

Make Smart Changes

Maintaining healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels can increase your overall heart health and reduce your chances of getting heart disease. The amount of cholesterol in your blood is largely determined by three factors: the amount produced by the liver, the amount absorbed from the intestinal tract and age. Reducing salt and monitoring calories are great ways to improve both blood pressure and cholesterol. As portion size and sugar content continues to grow in most of the food we consume it’s important to be aware of what we are putting in our bodies. Eating a healthier diet rich in fiber, fruits and vegetables while reducing saturated fats and trans fats. Limiting the amount of soda or sugary drinks you consume while making activity a part of your daily life will help reduce your risk of heart disease and heart attack. Mixing muscle strengthening activities and cardio are simple ways to begin adding activity into your routine.

To learn more about heart disease or discuss your risk factors call Rodgers Health for an appointment today at 816-474-4920  or request an appointment online!