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 Clinic1, 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.2


Your risk of heart disease can be divided into three categories:

1. Health Conditions:

High blood pressure

High blood cholesterol levels

Diabetes

Obesity

2. Lifestyle Behaviors:

Eating an unhealthy diet high in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol

Being physically inactive

Drinking too much alcohol

Smoking

3. Demographic Features:

Age

Race

Genetics

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

Meatless Monday

Move it Monday

Quit & Stay Quit Monday

DeStress Monday


[1] Mayo Clinic. Heart Disease. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20353118. Assessed December 2019.
[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Heart Disease Facts. https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm Assessed December 2019.