What you need to know about heart health

Key statistics for heart disease

·       720,000 people die of heart disease every year

·       It is the most common disease among men and women

·       Cardiovascular diseases claim more lives than all forms of cancer combined

·       In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds

·       In women, 1 in 3 die of heart disease compared to 1 in 31 for breast cancer

·       43 million women in the U.S. are affected by heart disease

·       The symptoms of heart disease are different in men and women, and are often misunderstood

·       An American dies of cardiovascular disease every 40 seconds

·       Direct and indirect costs related to heart disease total to 320.1 billion

·       Worldwide, tobacco smoking was one of the top three risk factors

·       Less than 1% of U.S. adults meet the American Heart Association's definition for an "ideal healthy diet."

Ways to improve heart health

1.     Don’t smoke: Smoking damages your blood vessels and increases your risk for heart disease.

2.     Maintain a healthy BMI: Learn your body mass index so know whether you are in proper shape. Being overweight or obese increase your risk for heart disease.

3.     Be physically active. This is important to reduce your risk for heart disease and stay in shape. It can also reduce stress, boost your immune system and ensure a good night’s sleep.

4.     Eat a healthy diet. Avoid processed foods, eat little red meat and more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

5.     Watch your cholesterol. Keep your cholesterol low by eating more fiber and making necessary lifestyle modifications.

6.     Watch your blood pressure. Keep your blood pressure in check to maintain a healthy heart. Find ways to reduce stress and make sure you track your numbers.


Other ways you can keep your heart health in check:

·       Ask your doctor if aspirin is right for you

·       Know your blood pressure

·       Be aware of your cholesterol levels. Bad cholesterol (LDL) should be over 60 and good cholesterol (HDL) should be less than 100. 

·       Diet - Limit your intake of salt, sugar and fat. 

·       Exercise - 3 times per week for 30 minutes is a great place to start. Make small changes and it could lead to a more aggressive exercise regimen. 

·       Fiber - get at least 3 servings of fruits and vegetables.

·       Genetics - Family history matters when it comes to heart disease. Consult with your doctor for an optimal prevention path. 

·       Habits matter the most. We need to make small changes that will lead to bigger behaviors over time. Educating your children when they're young and instilling good habits is key.

·       Increase your input of organic food. Limit the amount of pesticides and preservatives in your body.

·       Java time. Coffee lovers rejoice - 3-4 cups per day is great for you. Some studies show coffee helps decrease the risk of diabetes, some cancers and dementia.