February is known for celebrating Valentine’s Day; the day when we observe the loved one’s in our life, but February is also American Heart Month. So, along with showing those closest to you a little attention, it’s also the best time to get started showing yourself some love, specifically showing your heart some special attention. Unfortunately, heart disease claims approximately 2300 lives every day; according the American Heart Association that’s about 1 in every 3 deaths in the US. The good news is…with just a few simple lifestyle changes, heart disease is preventable. Here are a few tips to help you get started on the journey to a happy, healthy heart.
1. Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet that is rich in omega 3’s and fiber is one of the easiest ways to monitor your heart health. A few small changes such as eating a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast will quickly provide your body with the nutrition it needs to keep your heart and other organs functioning at their best. Include foods like salmon, broccoli, walnuts and flax seed to ensure your diet includes the omega 3’s and fiber you need for a healthy heart and digestion system. At 1st Meridian Care Services, our skilled nurses provide expert level care through individualized treatment plans, including dietary instruction.
2. Take a Walk
There have been several studies done that have shown the benefit of exercise and its ability to improve your heart health. Taking a brief 10-minute walk can help burn calories, which control your weight, decreases blood pressure, improves blood sugars and levels out cholesterol; all of which are essential for maintaining a healthy heart. Even if you aren’t able to get outside and take a walk, there are several other things you can do indoors that will provide the exercise necessary for a healthy heart. For instance, lifting a kettle bell will allow you to work the muscles in arms, chest and back as well as help you work your way up to slightly more strenuous exercises. If you would like assistance with walking, mobility, or other health exercises, our in-home caregivers are available to help you stay healthy.
3. Reduce Stress
Deep breathing exercises are amazing at helping to reduce stress and as a bonus deep breathing may also help to lower blood pressure. It is important to regularly monitor your blood pressure. Many grocery and department stores offer a free monitoring station that allows you to quickly test your blood pressure. Along with checking your blood pressure on your own, it’s important to schedule routine examinations with your family doctor.
4. Avoid Illness
Certain illnesses, such as the flu and pneumonia can be extremely hard on your heart. So, it’s important to avoid situations that may increase your risk of getting sick. Wash your hands often, especially after being in public places and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth after touching doorknobs, elevator buttons and being out in public areas.
5. Know the Signs
One of the most important steps you can take towards heart health awareness is to be aware of the signs of a heart attack. Also, keep in mind that signs of a heart attack may be different for women than they are for men. Signs may include:
- Pain in your arms, neck, back, jaw or upper stomach
- Chest pain (pressure or heavy ache)
- Shortness of breath
- Unusual or unexplained fatigue
- Feeling light-headed or dizzy
- Breaking out in a sweat
- Feeling sick to your stomach
If you think you are having a heart attack, call 9-1-1 immediately! Do not attempt to drive yourself to the hospital.
Change is often difficult, but even making small changes to your diet and exercise program can have a significant effect on your heart health awareness. Instead of attempting to make large, overnight changes, you may find it more beneficial to make a series of small changes. This approach may seem to take longer, but it may also motivate you to make a few bigger changes. Remember to visit your doctor for regular checkups and don’t hesitate to talk with medical professionals for suggestions on how to improve your heart heath.
Nothing should prevent you from receiving the care that you deserve. We have the experience and resources to help with even the most challenging of situations. Call us today to speak with a specialist for a complimentary assessment of your needs: (858) 529-1886.