How at risk are you for heart disease and stroke? As we kick off American Heart Month during the month of February let’s remember the importance of taking care of our hearts. Heart month is aimed at raising awareness of heart disease and lifestyle changes we can make to prevent it.

Our heart health is more important than ever to remain low-risk for diseases and viruses like COVID-19. People with heart failure and other serious heart conditions are at a greater risk of serious COVID-19 symptoms. According to the CDC COVID-19 can damage the respiratory system and make it harder for your heart to work. It can also attack and weaken the heart muscle. Dr. Paul Teirstein,  Chief of Cardiology at Scripps Clinic says “People with serious heart conditions should do everything possible to avoid exposure to COVID-19. They should be practicing social distancing, avoiding crowds, and focusing on their health during the pandemic,”

In addition to that, The American Heart Association gives us Life's Simple 7,  easy lifestyle changes we can implement daily to improve our own heart health. The more proactive we can be when it comes to following these tips and living a healthier life, the more we can improve the function of our heart. The most simple preventions revolve around what we eat and how physically active we are. 

Here are the 7 lifestyle changes we can make today to live a healthier, better and longer life.  

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    1

    Manage Blood Pressure

    Normal blood pressure is considered to be 120 over 80 or lower. Anything higher puts you at risk for strokes and heart disease. Reducing unnecessary stress, caffeine intake, alcohol intake and sodium intake are all precautions you can control yourself!

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    2

    Control Cholesterol

    High levels of cholesterol may cause plaque to block your arteries and ultimately lead to heart complications. Consult with health care professionals for recommendations to lower cholesterol intake.

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    3

    Reduce Blood Sugar

    High levels of blood sugar, also known as glucose, can actually damage parts of the body like the heart and kidneys. Consult with health care professionals for recommendations to lower blood sugar levels.

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    4

    Get Active

    Daily exercise improves the functionality of your heart and body. 30 minutes of physical activity a day is all you need to start!

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    5

    Eat Better

    Focus on making smart choices and reading nutrition labels before buying food from the store. Your body is your home, make sure you are kind to it!

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    6

    Lose Weight

    When we are able to lose excess weight, our bodies don’t have to work as hard to perform daily functions.

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    7

    Stop Smoking

    Smoking is detrimental to lung and heart health and gives you a much higher chance for heart complications.