February is a jam-packed month full of wonderful things to celebrate. While you are studying up on your Black History or getting ready for a happy Valentine’s Day, keep in mind that the steady beat of the month is made possible by your one and only heart. February is American Heart Month, an important opportunity to remember to make wise choices every day that will take care of your heart and your whole body.
Why a Month for Heart Health?
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Heart Disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in this country. Nearly a quarter of all deaths in the United States every year are due to heart disease. Blood pressure, cholesterol, daily activity, family history and other factors all contribute to your risk for developing heart disease. Heart disease is preventable with regular professional preventative care, exercise, and healthy eating habits. By dedicating the month of February to talk about heart health, more Americans can become aware of the symptoms of heart disease and the risk factors, as well as make an appointment with their primary care physician and make important changes to their lifestyle.
What Can I Do This Month?
- If you haven’t made plans for an annual physical with your primary care doctor, make today the day you make a call. Your annual physical is the best way to screen for critical concerns, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, all of which pose cardiovascular risks. Your doctor will also check your kidney and liver function, and ask you questions about your lifestyle. Be honest, listen carefully, and follow their advice.
- Did your resolution to exercise more fall by the wayside last month? Try again this month, making small, manageable goals. Can you commit to walking for 15 minutes today? Is your local gym still running an affordable new-member promotion? Start small and commit to making a new habit.
- Any time is a good time to think about what you eat. Can you switch out salt (which contributes to high blood pressure) for spices in your meals this month? Can you try heart-healthy oatmeal for breakfast twice a week or swap in some high-calcium foods in your lunch or dinner (calcium and Vitamin D are great for your heart and bones)?
- Staying hydrated (that means reducing your consumption of alcohol and increasing your water intake) is good for your heart and all of your vital organs. Have you had your glass of water today?
Small things can make a big difference when it comes to your health. You don’t have to make big sweeping changes to see results. Whether you are thinking about maintaining your healthy habits you already have or learning you need to make a change, start with something small that you know you can stick to. Consistent practice, steady as a heartbeat, turns into healthy habits faster than you think. (See what we did there?) Make American Heart Month your month to make a difference in your health.
Wondering why a dental office cares about your heart health? We’re a specialist firm that recognizes that your good oral health is just a part of your good overall health. If you are making choices to take better care of yourself and your regular dentist has recommended you see a specialist, give us a call today. We want to collaborate with you and your doctor to get you back on the road to overall good health.