It’s February and we’re seeing red as we celebrate American Heart Month! It’s time to fight cardiovascular disease and learn how we can take control of our health – and our hearts! Here’s what you need to know if you are:
- A woman age 55 or older
- A man age 45 or older
- A person with a family history of early heart disease
Take steps today to keep your heart healthy. Start with these heart-healthy tips!
Eat a heart-healthy diet. This includes fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats like skinless chicken and fish, beans and legumes, and fat-free or low-fat dairy. Click here for more information plus some heart-healthy recipes. Web MD has also compiled a list of its Top Heart-Healthy foods, which you can add to your shopping list and include in your meal plans.
Exercise regularly. You may have recently heard the phrase “Sitting is the new smoking.” That’s because a sedentary lifestyle is one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease. By exercising regularly, you can strengthen your heart and entire cardiovascular system, improve your circulation, lower your blood pressure and cholesterol and more. Exercise can also help you manage and reduce your weight, another significant risk factor.
Manage your blood pressure and cholesterol. A heart-healthy diet and regular exercise can be extremely effective in managing your blood pressure and cholesterol. However, these conditions are often symptomless, which can lead to big problems if left undiagnosed. The best way to monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol is by having an annual preventive wellness visit with your healthcare provider. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi’s Healthy You! wellness benefit provides an annual wellness visit with a Network Provider at no out-of-pocket cost to covered members. The visit includes age and gender-specific health screenings, which include cholesterol and blood pressure. Learn more in the Healthy You! section of our website.
Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke. This is one of the most important steps you can take for your health and the health of those around you. Once you stop smoking, the health benefits are immediate and continue to improve over time. Learn more about the benefits of quitting and our “be tobacco-free” Program.
Limit alcohol consumption. Too much alcohol can elevate your blood pressure, which can significantly increase heart disease risk. Women should have no more than one drink per day and men should have no more than two drinks per day. One drink is equal to one 12oz beer or 4oz glass of wine.
Manage stress. Over time, too much stress can lead to a host of health problems, including cardiovascular disease. Learn more about healthy ways to manage stress.
Love your heart (and your health) this February! Learn more about heart health from the American Heart Association.