It’s February, the month of love! Everywhere you go there are hearts and candy and sweet valentine cards for that special someone in your life. While all of this is sweet and romantic, did you know that February is American Heart Health Month? Heart disease is the leading cause among men and women in the United States causing 1 in 4 deaths annually. The good news is, you can work to prevent heart disease. It does not have to be a death sentence for you or someone that you love. Maintaining an active lifestyle by moving 30-60 minutes per day can get your blood pumping and circulating like it needs to through all the vital organs and arteries in the body. Both of my grandmothers suffered from heart disease – having two of the main causes: high blood pressure and high cholesterol. While blood pressure can and most likely will exhibit warning signs, you will not know about your cholesterol unless you visit your primary care physician for your annual physical and blood work. Checking in with your physician at least twice a year is very important to see where your numbers are. Not just for your blood pressure and cholesterol, but for your a1c levels – which determine where your glucose levels lie, cardiac enzymes if you are at risk for heart disease, and a complete blood count which checks for a plethora of anomalies within your blood and organ operations.
Some of the contributing factors to heart disease can be considered hereditary. So, the importance of knowing your family history is well…IMPORTANT! As we are already ¼ of the way through the month of February, I implore you to evaluate and think about what you have done to improve your heart health and to prevent any cardiac events in the future. Have you stared exercising and becoming more active? Are you avoiding trans fats? Have you reduced your sodium intake? There is a thing called:” Life Simple 7’s,” which include core health behaviors such as smoking, physical activity, diet and weight. On the flip side of the coin, you have the health factors which include cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose control. All these factors combined or on their own and collectively can contribute to your overall cardiovascular health.
My challenge to you – in honor of my two wonderful grandmothers who are no longer with us is to be heart smart this month and every month. Don’t just take the month of February to meet the challenge, but from now and beyond. I challenged all my followers on social media to strive to take 8,000 steps or more each day throughout the month of February, but DON’T stop there…keep going in 2019. Heart disease can happen to anyone. It can be the result of another medical condition because all our body systems work together. Walking is a simple task that requires no additional equipment. I have turned the space between my living room and my playroom into a walking track this week because my son was sick and I couldn’t go in the garage on the treadmill and I couldn’t go walk the neighborhood and although I may have looked foolish doing laps around the sofa and the maze of toys, I got my steps in! I encourage you this month, GET UP, EAT BETTER, MOVE MORE, CHECK YOUR OVERALL HEALTH, and most importantly, BE HEART SMART!
Follow me on IG @jerrica_and _jerome or @wife_woman_mother_magazine_ to be a part of this month’s challenge. You have time to catch up and send in your monthly step numbers to enter in the contest for a special surprise. I want to see everyone making strides this month…literally.