February is American Heart Month - - 18cafe.info

Published on January 29, 2018

February is American Heart Month

A Great Time to Commit to Heart Health

February is American Heart Month. It's a great time for you to learn more about heart disease and its causes, and to begin making small changes to your lifestyle that can help you have a healthy heart.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women but you do not have to become a statistic. Just making some small changes in your lifestyle can have a significant impact on your heart health.

What is Heart Disease?

American Heart Month"Heart disease” is a phrase that includes many different problems of the heart. Most of those problems are caused by atherosclerosis – a buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries.

Atherosclerosis can start when there is damage to the lining of the coronary arteries, which bring oxygen-rich blood into the heart. Cholesterol combines with fat, calcium and other substances in the blood to form plaque, which then collects at these damaged spots in the arteries.

Plaque causes the arteries to narrow and make it harder for flow through them. If plaque hardens and breaks off of an artery wall, cells in the blood known as platelets may stick to the injured spot and clump together to cause blood clots. When that happens, the clots can completely block the artery and cause a heart attack. If a clot makes its way to a blood vessel that feeds blood to the brain, it can cause a stroke.

Understanding the Common Causes

There are risk factors for heart disease that are beyond your control, such as your sex, age and family history. Men, older adults, and people who have a family history of heart disease are more likely to develop it themselves.

There are other risk factors that are related to lifestyle choices and can be controlled. These include smoking, physical inactivity, poor diet, stress, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Five Ways To A Healthy Heart

Here are five ways to get started on your journey to a healthier heart:

  1. Quit Smoking: If you’ve smoked for a long time, this may not seem like a small thing. However, your doctor can help you quit by providing medication to reduce your cravings and by recommending resources that can help support your decision to quit.
  2. Exercise More: You should be getting about 150 minutes of moderate physical activity every week. If it's been a while since you last exercised, start small and build up to that amount of activity. Begin with something achievable, such as walking around the block a few times per week, and then increase the distance as it becomes easier.
  3. Revamp Your Diet: You don’t have to skip your favorite treats. Small changes like eating an extra serving of fruits and vegetables per day and replacing red meat with lean chicken or fish will help.
  4. Get Tested: If you haven’t had a cholesterol or blood pressure check in a while, make an appointment today. If your results are too high, your doctor can help you get them under control through medication and lifestyle changes.
  5. Take a Deep Breath: Stress can be a killer. While it’s impossible to eliminate stress completely from your life, practicing yoga and meditation, increasing your exercise and seeking a counselor who can suggest with stress-reduction techniques can help.

Talk to your doctor if you need advice – even small changes can make a big difference when it comes to preventing heart disease.

Request an Appointment

To request an appointment with a cardiovascular physician or for a non-invasive cardiac test at a Crozer-Keystone Health System facility, please complete the online secure appointment form below or call 1-866-95-PULSE (1-866-957-8573). A representative will get back to you within the next business day. We regret that we cannot take appointment requests for pediatric patients at this time.

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Meet the Heart Team

With patient and family at its center, the Crozer-Keystone Heart Team brings cardiovascular specialists together to provide education and develop the best treatment plan for each patient.