Taking Your Health to HeartPosted by Medicare Made Clear
You probably know Valentine’s Day is February 14th. But this isn’t the only reason to think about hearts in February. It’s also American Heart Month. So when you see Valentine’s Day cards and decorations, take a minute to think about your own heart—or the heart of someone you love.
Matters of the Heart
Heart disease occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart get hardened or narrowed due to plaque buildup. Plaque is made up of fatty deposits that build up on the walls of the arteries in the heart.
Knowing your risk factors for heart disease can help you stay healthy. The good news is, many risk factors are controllable. This means you can help yourself stay healthy by working with your doctor to manage them. Following are some tips that may help keep some of the most common risk factors in check.
High blood pressure. Heart Healthy Tip: Limit your salt (sodium) intake. Read food labels carefully. Many common foods can hide high salt contents.
Smoking. Heart Healthy Tip: Quit smoking—or at least cut down. Your doctor can help you find the way that may work the best for you.
Obesity. Heart Healthy Tip: Find creative ways to get active in your daily life. This may help you enjoy exercising, which will help you stick with it long-term.
High cholesterol. Heart Healthy Tip: When you’re tempted by fatty foods, practice portion control. A smaller amount of a less-than-healthy food tastes just as good as a larger one—and may be better for you.
Diabetes. Heart Healthy Tip: Get a diabetes cookbook or look online for recipes designed with the needs of people with diabetes in mind. There are a lot of tasty choices to help you manage your blood sugar.
Depression. Heart Healthy Tip: Are you working with a doctor to manage depression symptoms? Be sure to let him or her know if your symptoms aren’t getting better—or if they’re getting worse. Your doctor can help you find other ways to feel your best.
To kick off Hearth Health Month, the National Heart Association created National Wear Red Day®. This year it falls on February 1, 2013. The point is to raise awareness for the fight against women’s heart disease. You can “go red” by wearing red, raising funds for research or just helping people learn more about this serious women’s health issue.
Helping People Stay Alive
Seeing someone going into cardiac arrest can be scary. But if you know what to do, you could help save a life. Most people who experience cardiac arrest die because they don’t receive immediate CPR from someone on the scene1. Would you be ready to help if needed? Visit the American Heart Association’s Hands-Only™ CPR page to watch a video to see what you can do to save a life—and learn what disco has to do with it.
Your heart works hard for you. And keeping it healthy is essential for your overall health and wellbeing.
1American Heart Association, http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/CPRAndECC/HandsOnlyCPR/Hands-Only-CPR_UCM_440559_SubHomePage.jsp
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American Heart Association: Go Red™ for Women campaign.
American Heart Association: Get on your way to a healthy heart with Life’s Simple 7™
Medicare Made Clear blog post: Making Healthy New Year’s Resolutions that Stick
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