Your heart wants you to be healthy! Why? Because heart disease is a major problem; it is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year, about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack, and about 600,000 people die from heart disease in the United States each year—that’s 1 out of every 4 deaths. In addition, cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, costs the United States $312.6 billion each year.
Healthy Hearts are Happy
Some health conditions and lifestyle factors can put people at a higher risk for developing heart disease. Making healthy choices and managing any medical conditions you may have can help prevent heart disease, making your heart happy. According to the CDC, these factors will help in keeping your heart happy and healthy:
- Stop smoking – No ifs, ands, or 'butt's about this one; this habit is one of the top controllable risk factors for heart disease. Smokers have a higher risk of developing many chronic disorders, including atherosclerosis — the buildup of fatty substances in the arteries — which can lead to coronary heart disease and stroke.
- Exercise – Walk, jog, run, do yoga, Pilates, aerobics, or lift weights; just get your heart pumping and your blood flowing! People who don't exercise are almost twice as likely to get heart disease as people who are active. Only 30 minutes a day can help your heart for years to come.
- Omega-3s – Did you know that eating one to two servings of fish a week could reduce your risk of dying of a heart attack? Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are a type of unsaturated fatty acid that may reduce inflammation throughout the body, which can damage your blood vessels and lead to heart disease. The best kinds of fish to eat are salmon, lake trout, herring, sardines, and tuna, according to the Mayo Clinic.
- Laugh! – In a University of Maryland Medical Center study, they found that laughter, along with an active sense of humor, may help protect you against a heart attack.
- Lay off the Salt – The New England Journal of Medicine posted a study with a lower target of 3.7 grams of salt a day for most adults. This is lower than the Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services recommends, which is 5.8 grams of salt per day. By reducing the dietary salt, blood pressure is lowered and so is the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Get a pet – Whether you’re a cat person or a dog person, your furry friend can put years on your life! A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health found that those who owned a pet had lower heart rates and blood pressure, whether at rest or when undergoing stressful tests, than those without pets.
- Relax – Unmanaged stress can affect your health by causing high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms, damage to arteries, and higher cholesterol levels, among other issues. It is important to take a stress break and learn how to relax, whether that means putting down the electronics or taking in some scenery or some simple peace and quiet.
- SLEEP! – Poor sleep has been linked to high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (clogging or hardening of the arteries), heart failure, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and obesity… so make sure to get those Z’s!
From our Heart to Yours
Summit supports your healthier lifestyle with our Valley Video DVD programs that will help keep you and your employees’ hearts health and happy. Take a look:
Healthwise 5-Part Series – Valley Video
- Lower cholesterol
- Quite Smoking
- Stress Management