February is American Heart Month. It is important for us to understand risk factors for heart disease and how to live a lifestyle that is heart healthy. Let’s see if you are heart smart.
What to Know for a Healthier Heart
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. One in five deaths is due to heart disease, even though the disease is largely preventable.
Keeping your heart healthy starts with living a heart-healthy lifestyle. But first, you need to get smart about your heart. Knowing what causes heart disease, what puts you at risk for it, and how you can reduce those risks can help you make informed decisions to protect your heart and keep it strong.
Want to test your knowledge? Take this short Heart Smart Quiz:
Heart Smart Quiz
1. True or False? High blood pressure is also known as hypertension and occurs when your blood pressure is consistently 130/80 mm Hg or higher.
2. True or False? Your body mass index, or BMI, shows if your weight is in a healthy range for your height and is one measure of your future risk for heart disease.
3. True or False? Cholesterol helps make hormones, vitamin D, and substances to help you digest foods. Your body needs it for good health, but in the right amounts.
4. True or False? Eating lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, using fat-free or low-fat dairy products, and limiting foods high in saturated fat or sugar-sweetened beverages are all part of a heart-healthy diet.
5. True or False? Not getting enough sleep or getting poor quality sleep on a regular basis increases the risk of having high blood pressure, heart disease, and other medical conditions.
6. True or False? To strengthen their heart, adults should aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as brisk walking each week.
Answer Key: All answers are True.
How did you do?
Knowing your own risk factors for heart disease can help guide your lifestyle choices, so talk to your healthcare provider to make sure you’re clear. Just as important: know your numbers. Your weight, waist size, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels all affect your heart. If they aren’t where they should be, make a pledge to begin improving them.
Adding more physical activity to your day, eating a heart-healthy diet, managing stress, getting enough quality sleep, and not smoking can put you on the path to better heart health.
Learn more about heart disease prevention by using these links:
If you have any questions about being heart healthy, please log into your account and send us your question. We are here to help.
Dr. Anita Bennett MD – Health Tip Content Editor