The heart is the indispensable pump. Each day it beats over 100,000 times, pumping over 2,000 gallons of life-giving blood throughout your body. Heart health is important for total health and fitness, and injury or damage to your heart, its valves or blood vessels leads to heart disease.
Heart disease is one of Health Power’s “Special Big 4 Targets”, with the other three special targets being obesity, diabetes and hypertension. Preventing and controlling heart disease is one of our main objectives and the three simple steps outlined below can help you achieve heart health.
According to the American Heart Association and CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), cardiovascular disease, which consists of disease of the heart and blood vessels, is the leading cause of death among minorities. In fact, heart disease causes more deaths in the United States than cancer, accidents, homicide, and diabetes. The total estimated direct cost of cardiovascular disease and stroke ( a related blood vessel disease) exceeds $310 billion each year.
Some practices and conditions that increase a person’s risk of developing heart disease, or risk factors, such as age and heredity cannot be controlled. However, the following 6 major risk factors are controllable:
• Lack of exercise
• Smoking and tobacco use
• High blood cholesterol
• Being overweight and obese
• Diabetes (Type 2)
• High blood pressure
Your chances of developing heart disease are higher the more risk factors you have.
However, the good news is that empowered with good information, you can take control of your health, prevent heart disease, and live healthy. Just remember and act on “The three (3) E’s”. The following 3 simple steps reduce or greatly delay your risk of developing heart disease:
• Eat healthy
• Empower yourself with knowledge about your risk factors
Key information on each of the three E’s follows.
Exercise is essential for heart health. Talk with a health care professional before you begin any exercise program, and simply walking more each day is a good start. Regular daily exercise of 20-30 minutes reduces blood pressure, and can lower cholesterol, burn body fat, relieve depression, and increase confidence and self esteem.
Eating Healthy, which means eating a balanced diet that’s low in cholesterol, salt, and fats, and cholesterol is the recipe for heart health. Moderation is key to healthy eating. Too much salt, fat, and cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease. On the other hand, Increased intake of fiber, water, and fruits and vegetables keeps your weight under control and increases your energy.
Knowing, monitoring and controlling your risk factors for heart disease such as blood pressure, weight, and cholesterol level empowers you to make healthy lifestyle choices. Take action and become your own healthcare advocate. Ask informed questions of your doctors and healthcare providers and be a partner in achieving total heart health.
Again, exercise, eating a healthy diet, and empowering yourself with knowledge are three simple steps to heart health.
Remember the Health Power motto, or tagline: Knowledge + Action = Power!®