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February is American Heart Month

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Heart with bandages

Heart disease is the preeminent cause of death for men and women in the United States. Each year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease.
The good news is, oftentimes, heart disease can be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage health conditions.
In collaboration with our community partners, we endeavor to make a difference in communities by spreading awareness and strategies for preventing heart disease. We encourage you to live heart healthy lives.
In awareness of American Heart Month, we hope you can benefit from a few tips to help you control your risk of heart disease.

Reduce Blood Sugar

Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose (or blood sugar) that our bodies use for energy. Your body makes a hormone called insulin that acts like a carrier to take your food energy into your cells. If your fasting blood sugar level is below 100, you are in the healthy range. If not, your results could indicate diabetes or pre-diabetes.
The following tips can all help reduce your blood sugar:

  • Reduce consumption of simple sugars that are found in soda, candy and sugary desserts
  • Get regular physical activity! Moderate intensity aerobic physical activity directly helps your body respond to insulin
  • Take medications or insulin if it is prescribed for you

Manage Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. When your blood pressure stays within healthy ranges, you reduce the strain on your heart, arteries, and kidneys which keeps you healthier longer.

To help manage blood pressure:

  • Follow the healthy plate (1/2 plate vegetables, 1/4 protein, 1/4 starch)
  • Avoid processed foods which can be high in salt (sodium)
  • Be physically active daily (30-60 minutes)
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Manage stress, limit alcohol and avoid tobacco smoke.

Control Cholesterol

When you control your cholesterol, you are giving your arteries their best chance to remain clear of blockages. Cholesterol combines with white blood cells and forms plaque in your veins and arteries. This plaque forms blockages which lead to heart disease and stroke.

Eat Healthy Foods

Healthy foods are the fuel our bodies use to make new cells and create the energy we need to thrive and fight diseases.  Let Food be Your Medicine. A few tips for healthy eating:

  • Eat vegetables and fruits daily (Make ½ your plate consist of vegetables)
  • Eat fiber-rich foods including beans and oatmeal
  • Eat fish twice a week
  • Use healthy oils including extra virgin olive and coconut oil
  • Avoid processed and refined foods
  • Avoid added sugars

Get Fit! Be Active

If you get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity (like brisk walking), five days a week, you can almost guarantee yourself a healthier and more satisfying life while lowering your risks for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Go Smoke FREE! Stop Smoking

Cigarette smokers have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Do you know the risk of Smoking and Diabetes? Are you aware that secondhand smoke has been linked to Type 2 diabetes and obesity? Smoking and secondhand smoke can contribute to very serious, life-threatening health complications for people with diabetes- or at a high risk of developing diabetes. People with diabetes who smoke have higher levels of HbA1c than nonsmoking people with diabetes. If you smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do for your health.  Smoking can also reduce your good cholesterol (HDL) and your lung capacity, making it harder to get the physical activity you need for better health. Whatever it takes for you to stop smoking, it is worth it!

Lose Weight

If you have too much fat — especially if you carry it all in your waist — you’re at higher risk for such health problems as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and diabetes. Even losing as few as five or ten pounds can produce a dramatic blood pressure reduction.

*Disclaimer:

If you have any specific questions about any medical matter, you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.

For additional information on Heart Disease, Heart Disease Risk Factors, Preventing Heart Disease and related topics, click here.

Ruby A. Neeson Diabetes Awareness Foundation, Inc. is a Georgia-based nonprofit organization raising diabetes awareness and prevention through education, community outreach and advocacy programs.

We are dedicated and committed to creating supportable, sustainable opportunities for those affected by diabetes.

For information on services and organization opportunities, please visit www.fightdiabetesnow.org.

Fight Diabetes Now- Together We Can Win!

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