February is traditionally associated with Valentine’s Day – lovers, flowers, candy and hearts - and coincidentally (or not), it is also Heart Health Month! So, in addition to sharing your love with those who are important to you, please also consider making some changes to show love to yourself - by protecting your heart health!
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. Every year, 1 in 4 deaths of women are caused by heart disease. Almost 2/3 of women who die suddenly of heart disease have NO previous symptoms! Your age and family history can also affect your risk for heart disease; your risk is higher if you are a woman over age 55 and/or your mother or sister had heart disease before age 65. But, the good news is that heart disease can often be prevented with simple changes in food choices and by managing any existing health conditions.
Simple changes such as:
• Watching your weight
• If you smoke – quit!
• Stay away from second-hand smoke
• Control your cholesterol
• Control your blood pressure
• If you drink alcohol – drink only in moderation
• Get regular physical exercise
• Manage stress
• Eat a healthy diet – specifically, choose foods that are low in sodium
Taking these small steps to heart health can add up to big changes. And, of course, remember to LOVE YOURSELF and love one another. Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Heart Health Month!