February is American Heart Month. Here’s the “heart” of the matter:
In the United States, heart disease is the #1 cause of death in both men and women. Over 600,000 people die each year of heart disease-related illnesses. So what is heart disease? 1
Heart disease is a broad term that refers to several conditions. The most common is coronary artery disease, which is a build-up of fatty plaque in the blood vessels. If not managed appropriately, this can over time completely block a vessel feeding your heart with blood, leading to a heart attack. Another form of heart disease, which is less common, includes heart failure which is caused by increasing stress on the heart over time.
What causes heart disease? There are many factors that play into whether or not a person develops heart disease. Genetics can play a role; however, the following conditions are more common things that can increase the risk of developing heart disease: smoking, poor eating choices, not getting enough exercise, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
If you have the conditions mentioned above, is it too late? The short answer is no. It is never too late and no change is ever too small to make a difference over time. Prevention is truly the best and cheapest medicine. Below are a few simple ways to make small changes that can potentially have a big impact on your heart health:
· Get moving: The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes a day, 5 times per week of moderate or rigorous exercise.2 Find something you love to do, even if it is vacuuming the stairs.
· Cook at home with fresh ingredients: What goes into the food you cook can help avoid excess salt, calories, and fat. It’s a myth that buying fresh is more expensive. Take advantage of produce deals at your local grocery store.
· Read the label: Knowing exactly what is in the food you buy can make a big difference. Things to beware of are salt, sugar, fat and calories.
· There are over the counter products that can potentially help prevent the complications of heart disease including: omega-3 fish oil, baby (81 mg) aspirin, and even dark chocolate!
Come visit the pharmacy this month to see our heart healthy display and talk about prevention and OTC products!
Degen Berglund Pharmacy is partnering with Festival Foods’ dieticians for a February heart health fair. Come visit us in The Village (2511 Green Bay St.) on 2/23/17 from 2-4 PM at the entrance of the pharmacy and Festival Foods. We will be offering free blood pressure screenings as well as educational materials on heart health and dietician consults on healthy food choices.