February is American Heart Month

By Lisa Choe Scott, MD, The Family Health Centers

The month of February reminds us of Cupid, love, chocolates and red hearts. But did you know there is another reason to go red?

February 2, 2018 is the 15th annual National Wear Red Day. Unfortunately, 1 in 3 women die from heart disease or stroke. Women show different symptoms with these events compared to men, so they sometimes don’t notice the symptoms or will write them off as something else.  For this reason, National Wear Red Day was started to raise awareness of heart disease.  More on heart attack symptoms in women here.

Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in men and women. On average someone dies of heart disease every 40 seconds, but this can be prevented by educating ourselves about and taking action.

How can we improve our heart health?

1. Schedule a visit with your doctor for a regular check up. We can work with you to establish goals to improve your heart health.

2. Add exercise to your routine. Start slow if this isn’t already in your routine. You can begin with walking 15 minutes 3 days a week, and work your way up to 30 minutes over the course of the next few weeks. Any activity is better than none!

3. Take steps to quit smoking. If you are currently smoking, cut back or quit to decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke significantly.

4. Increase healthy eating habits. Decrease the fast-food runs, and plan to cook at home at least 3 times a week. Decrease salt in your favorite recipes and replace it with fresh herbs and spices. You can also cook in advance over the weekend and eat leftovers during the week if time is a constraint during your work week. Weekly meal planning and on-the-go snacks can significantly reduce not only your fast food intake, but also your monthly food bills.

5. Take your medications as prescribed. Medications for high blood pressure and cholesterol are important to decreasing your risks for strokes or heart attacks. Talk to your doctor about the medications you are on, and never quit taking these meds on your own.

On Friday February 2nd, The Family Health Centers team will wear red  to raise this awareness, as we strive to work with you to improve heart health. So, are you ready to go red? We are!