February is Heart Month and it is a great time to celebrate love and can be a reminder to make healthy choices a part of your everyday life. Here are some steps you can take to be heart healthy.
Be Active and Eat Healthy
- Plan an activity that encourages physical fitness. Regular physical activity can help control your weight, reduce your risk of heart disease and some cancers, improve mental health and mood, and increase your chance of living longer. Adults need 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes total) of activity each week. You can break it up into smaller chunks of time during the day. It’s about what works best for you, as long as you’re doing physical activity at a moderate or vigorous effort for at least 10 minutes at a time.
- Treat yourself and loved ones to a meal that includes healthy options and foods low in saturated fat and salt, and limit sweets. Nutrition plays an essential role in maintaining overall health
- Limit alcohol consumption. Excessive alcohol use can lead to long-term health problems, including heart disease and cancer. If you do choose to drink, do so in moderation, which is no more than one drink a day for women and up to two for men. Do not drink at all if you are pregnant, under the age of 21, or have health problems that could be made worse by drinking.
- Know your blood pressure and if it’s high, make control your goal. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries, which carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body. Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. Work with your health care provider to come up with a plan to control your blood pressure.
- Quit smoking, and if you don’t smoke, don’t start.
- Learn the most common symptoms of a heart attack and call 120 or seek help immediately if these symptoms occur.
- The five major symptoms of a heart attack are:
- Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back,
- Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint,
- Chest pain or discomfort,
- Pain or discomfort in arms or shoulder, and
- Shortness of breath.
Prevent the Spread of Germs and Infections
Be Safe and Avoid Injury
- Avoid distracted driving. Distracted driving is driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving. Distracted driving can increase the chance of a motor vehicle crash.