7 Tips for Good Heart Health

Give the gift of heart health tips this Valentine’s Day.

Likely the most popular observance day in February is Valentine’s Day – when we can let the love flow by telling the people around us how much we care about them. Another way to let them know is by giving them the facts about heart disease during American Heart month.

It’s important to know the facts about heart disease, said Nancy Demars, director of Cardiopulmonary Services at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire and HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chippewa Falls. “Know your own risk, learn how to prevent the disease and educate yourself on resources,” she said.

Demars gives seven tips to foster good heart health:

TIP 1: Eat a heart-healthy diet low in fat, and high in fruits and vegetables.

TIP 2: Exercise enough to increase your heart rate and increase your breathing for at least 30 minutes for five or more days per week.

TIP 3: Keep a health journal. Keep track of what you eat and when you exercise. Seeing it written down makes it real.

TIP 4: Educate yourself on the risk factors for heart disease; like age, sex, family history, poor diet choices, smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity and stress.

TIP 5: Quit smoking. For help, visit www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/tobacco/treatment.htm.

TIP 6: Know your numbers. Take note of your blood pressure, weight, body mass index, cholesterol and others.  If it is not normal, work with your health care provider to make a plan to improve.

TIP 7: Meditate and/or do stretching exercises once per day to reduce stress and anxiety.

About 17,060,000 people in the U.S. have coronary heart disease. In Wisconsin, that’s roughly 265,000 people. One in five women in the U.S. die from heart disease, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

For more information about heart disease and treatment, visit www.sacredhearteauclaire.org/Medical-Services/Heart-Care-Services/Heart-Disease