Healthy Monday for Heart Health
What is heart disease?
Heart disease is a broad term that covers an array of health conditions affecting the heart and is often used interchangeably with the term ‘cardiovascular disease.’ According to the Mayo Clinic, heart disease refers to blood vessel diseases, arrhythmia, and congenital heart defects. Cardiovascular disease are conditions that narrow or block the blood vessels. A blocked or narrowed blood vessel is what leads to a heart attack, stroke and chest pain.
4 Facts to Know About Heart Disease:
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US for both men and women across nearly all racial and ethnic groups
- About half of all Americans (47%) have at least 1 of the 3 risk factors for heart disease (high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking)Heart disease kills about 647,000 Americans each year
- From 2014 – 2015, costs related to heart disease in the United States reached $219 Billion.
Your risk of heart disease can be divided into three categories:
1. Health Conditions:
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol levels
2. Lifestyle Behaviors:
- Eating an unhealthy diet high in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol
- Being physically inactive
- Drinking too much alcohol
3. Demographic Features:
- Family History
How to prevent and/or manage heart disease
1. Know your numbers and risk factors
- Get a yearly physical examination and have your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose level checked regularly (document these numbers for later reference).
- Starting at age 45, get your cardiovascular risk score if you are at risk for heart disease.
2. Eat a healthy diet, focused on less meat and more fruits, vegetables, and legumes
- Reduce consumption of high-sugar, high-calorie junk foods such as potato chips, cookies, candy, and sugar-sweetened beverages. Substitute red meat with nuts, whole grains, beans, peas, lentils, legumes and other meat alternatives like tofu, and tempeh.
- Use “Meatless Monday” as an opportunity replace animal proteins — especially red meat— with plant-based alternatives such as beans, lentils, nuts, tofu, and plant-based meat products.
3. Be and Stay Active
- Add activity into your daily routine — Move it Monday by parking a little farther from the store, suggesting a “walking date, or trading the elevator for the stairs. Every bit counts.
- Stay active by incorporating a Monday Mile walk into your weekly routine.
4. Quit Smoking
- Make a quit plan and prepare to Quit and Stay Quit Monday
- Set up a support team to help keep you accountable and on track
5. Lower Stress Levels
- Engage in deep breathing techniques for relaxation and reduced tension
- Prioritize a consistent sleep schedule
6. Limit alcohol intake
- Too much alcohol can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure, and weight gain
- No more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women (A drink is one 12 oz. beer, 4 oz. of wine, 1.5 oz. of 80-proof spirits, or 1 oz. of 100-proof spirits.)
Better Understand YOUR Heart Health with these Free Resources
- ASCVD Risk Calculator
- Heart Attack and Stroke Symptoms
- How to Manage Stress to Control High Blood Pressure
Use “Mondays” to help you decrease your risk of heart disease