Valentine’s Day is here, and everywhere you go, everything you look at, is covered with bright, red hearts! Though it is the symbol of love, the heart is undoubtedly the most important organ in our body. Today, show some love to your heart, and invest time in making sure it is healthy and happy. Embark on a heart-healthy lifestyle to fight heart disease by taking the following measures.

Schedule a Yearly Checkup

Each year, schedule a checkup to have your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels checked, and ask your doctor to help you reach or maintain a healthy weight. These tests will give you insight into your risk for heart disease. Be sure to follow your doctor’s recommendations, including taking prescribed medications as directed.

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Get Moving

Step, march or jog in place for at least 15 minutes a day while watching TV or doing household chores. Increase your activity by five minutes each week until you’re getting a minimum of 30 minutes most days of the week. Exercise lowers the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and other medical conditions.

Eat Healthy

A diet high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and olive oil – consistent with the Mediterranean diet – can decrease the incidence of heart disease by 30 percent, whereas diets high in saturated fats and simple sugars can increase the risk of heart disease by 30 percent. Be sensible about what you take on your plate.

Keep your diet in check:

Cut Down on Salt

To help lower high blood pressure, watch your salt intake. It may be disguised in food labels as sodium alginate, sodium sulfite, sodium caseinate, disodium phosphate, sodium benzoate, sodium hydroxide, monosodium glutamate (MSG), or sodium citrate.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Excess weight increases your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. To achieve steady, painless weight loss, take it easy. Each day, if you eat 200-300 calories less than you would normally consume, and exercise at least 30 minutes on most or all days of the week, you’ll get closer to your goal and be able to achieve weight loss that’s steady and painless.

Stay Positive and Stress-Free

Stress takes a toll on the heart, increasing hormones throughout the body that are associated with the ‘flight-or-fight syndrome,’ leading to an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. It can also increase the stress hormones, such as cortisol, which causes inflammation, all leading to heart disease. Managing stress is a large part of being heart-healthy.

If required, get help:

Keep a check on your medical history

If you’re a woman, consider your pregnancy history. If you had high blood pressure or elevated sugars during pregnancy, you are at higher risk of heart disease. Get information about your family’s medical history, as that may play a part on your risk of getting heart diseases.

Your heart is in your hands. Value it, and take care of it. Start this Valentine’s Day.

For all cardiac solutions, contact our Cardiac Sciences Department:

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