Valentine’s isn’t the only day we should be thinking about hearts this month. Observed in February every year, National Heart Health Month was first established by President Lyndon Johnson in 1963 to address the rise in cardiovascular disease (CVD). According to the World Health Organization, CVDs are the leading cause of death globally. Closer to home, the Center for Disease Control reports that  … and this number is staggering … one American dies every 34 seconds from CVD.

And while it’s true that cardiovascular issues can be hereditary, there are many lifestyle changes that could be made to keep your name out of these sobering statistics. So, to honor National Heart Health Month, we give you …

5 Ways to Avoid Cardiovascular Disease

Southshore Physical Therapy, Metairie Louisiana, Lee Couret, Emily Sabido, potato chips, eating well for your heart, National Heart Health Awareness Month
Come on, Lee. You know potato chips aren’t the path to a heathy heart.

Eat right. We’ve heard it our whole lives. What you put into your body directly results in what you’ll get out of it. Proper nutrition is one of the best courses of action to fend off health issues and disease. Increase your vegetable, fruit, nut, fiber, plant-based and lean protein intake and decrease your salt, sugar, fats, carbohydrates and processed foods. We are, quite literally, what we eat. Want some recipe ideas?

Move. The math is simple. Adults should get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise every week. Struggling to find time for physical activity? Park farther away from your destination, use the stairs and take phone calls walking around the block or even just your office. Southshore offers many options to help you meet your weekly fitness goals.

Southshore Physical Therapy, Metairie Louisiana, Lee Couret, Emily Sabido, apple, eating well for your heart, National Heart Health Awareness Month
Emily approves of Lee’s heart-healthy snack choice.

Don’t smoke. It’s 2023, friends. Do we still really need to explain why smoking is so bad for your heart health and your overall wellbeing? Cigarettes, cigars, pipes, vapes … ditch them all. And while you’re at it, avoid putting yourself in situations where you’ll be exposed to secondhand smoke which causes a shocking 41,000 deaths per year in the United States.

Take your medication. Whether for regulating blood pressure, cholesterol, sugar levels, etc., your medications were prescribed by a doctor for a reason. By following these recommendations, you are staving off many of the complications that directly correlate with heart disease. Always maintain your supply of medications and set a timer if necessary so you don’t forget. For tips on understanding your medication, dosage, etc., click here

Southshore Physical Therapy, Metairie Louisiana, Phoebe Poche, smiling, bike, exercise for your heart, National Heart Health Awareness Month
Phoebe peddling her way to physical fitness, inside and out

See your doctor regularly. Nearly every health insurance policy offers an annual wellness visit to its members free of charge because it’s more cost-efficient to insure healthy individuals than those with heart conditions and other complications. Take advantage of this perk by getting a yearly check-up to identify any issues that should be addressed as soon as possible. As with most health disorders, early detection is critical in beating any kind of heart disease. The American Heart Association offers an excellent preparation tool to help you get the most out of your doctor visits.

Michele Robert Poche