It's Heart Health Month | Home and Garden | – NNY360

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Updated: January 26, 2023 @ 11:17 pm
Heart health is important for a longer life.

Heart health is important for a longer life.
American Heart Month is right around the corner. February is the time when the nation spotlights heart disease, the No. 1 killer of Americans. President Lyndon B. Johnson, among the millions of people in the country who’d had heart attacks, issued the first proclamation in 1964. Since then, U.S. presidents have annually declared February American Heart Month.
During the month, the American Heart Association and other organizations reinforce the importance of heart health, the need for more research and efforts to ensure that millions of people live longer and healthier. In most cases, heart disease is preventable when people adopt a healthy lifestyle, which includes not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, controlling blood sugar and cholesterol, treating high blood pressure, getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week and getting regular checkups.
Here are steps you can take:
n Eat healthy: Your meals should be mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, poultry, fish, and nuts while limiting red meat and sugary foods and drinks. Bonus: Eating a heart-healthy diet can help you lose weight, which may help lower your cholesterol.
— Move more: Aim for 30 minutes of heart-pumping activity most days of the week. Think brisk walking, bicycling, and swimming.
— Quit smoking: No matter how long you’ve been a smoker, you will still benefit from quitting.
— Avoid secondhand smoke: Even if you don’t smoke, being around it can raise your risk of heart disease.
— Blood pressure matters! I was recently joking with our retired Executive Director that his blood pressure has gone down and mine has gone up! But, what exactly is high blood pressure? When you have high blood pressure, also called hypertension, the force of blood against the walls of your arteries is high. Without treatment, high blood pressure can damage your arteries, heart, kidneys, and other organs. It can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure. It can also cause vision and memory loss, erectile dysfunction, fluid in the lungs, chest pain, circulatory problems, and several other conditions.
A blood pressure test is the only way to know if your blood pressure is too high. During the test, a cuff is placed around your upper arm to measure the pressure of blood flowing through the arteries. There are two numbers in blood pressure readings. If one or both are too high, you could have high blood pressure.
— Systolic pressure is the top number. It tells you the pressure of blood flow on your artery’s walls when your heart is beating and pushing blood to your body. It’s the higher of the two numbers.
— Diastolic pressure is the bottom number. It tells you the pressure on your artery’s walls between heartbeats, when your heart is relaxing and refilling with blood. Normal readings: Less than 120/less than 80
At risk for high blood pressure: 120-129/less than 80
High blood pressure: 130/80 or higher
Start with small sustainable changes and you will notice important, and potentially life changing, results over time.
Johnson Newspapers 7.1
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