February 2024- American Heart Month


February is American Heart Month, a time to focus on promoting a healthy heart lifestyle. Heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women.* But you can do a lot to protect your heart and stay healthy.

Heart-healthy living involves understanding your risk, making healthy choices and taking steps to reduce your chances of getting heart disease. By taking preventive measures, you can lower your risk while at the same time improving your overall health and well-being. 

Heart disease can often be preventable with some lifestyle changes. Here are a few things to remember to help promote a healthy heart and avoid the risk of heart disease.

Exercise. Maintaining physical activity each week for as little as 30 minutes a day, five days a week, would go a long way.  A simple walk, jog, or anything that will keep you moving and away from a sedentary lifestyle will help reduce risk of heart disease.

Eat Healthy. A healthy diet is a key to heart disease prevention.  Avoid foods that are high in saturated fats and cholesterol, limit your sodium intake, and consume less sugar to help prevent diabetes.

Check-Ups. Talk to your physician about your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as how to best make these changes in your lifestyle in order to prevent the possible risk of heart disease.  

Relax. Use relaxation techniques that combine breathing and focused attention on pleasing thoughts and images to calm the mind and body.

Quit Smoking. The chemicals in tobacco smoke harm your heart and blood vessels in many ways. Talk to your doctor about ways to quit smoking.

Improve sleep. Improving sleep reduces the risk of having high blood pressure, heart disease, and other medical conditions. Good sleep can help reduce stress and less stress is good for the heart.

If you have a loved one that is suffering from heart disease and nearing the end of life, hospice care provides important benefits.  Congestive heart failure patients receiving hospice care lived an average of eighty-one days longer than similar patients who did not choose hospice. A treatment plan focused on symptom and pain management could improve a patient’s quality-of-life immediately.  At Good Shepherd Hospice, our team of highly skilled care professionals work together to design an individualized plan of care that meets both family and patient needs. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

*National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute – Heart and Healthy Living – What is heart healthy living. Jan. 22, 2024. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/heart-healthy-living