Heart Health Tips | American Heart Month

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February was first declared American Heart Month in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Within his proclamation he stated that over one-half of the then ten million Americans were afflicted by cardiovascular disease. Today, it remains the number-one killer in the United States. According to the CDC, 1 in every 4 deaths in America is due to heart disease. However, annual cardiac-related deaths have been dropping since the early 1960’s, while the population has grown. And research suggests there are lifestyle factors associated with a decreased risk: quitting smoking, avoiding obesity, an increase in physical activity, and a healthy diet. Stress also plays a major role.

Visit our Sticky Note Blog every Friday in February for a new post filled with helpful tips said to increase your heart health. As always, please share your thoughts by adding a paper clip and commenting – we’d love to hear from you!

 TIP #1. Changing Habits & Smoking

It’s the beginning of the year, and chances are you (or someone you know) made a New Year’s Resolution. The most common resolutions are related to changing a habit, and often a long daunting list of them! That’s why our first tip is: start small. They say it takes 21 days to build a habit, but keep in mind our bad habits likely developed over time, and so it may take more time to break them. Be gentle and patient with yourself. Focus on one behavior/habit at a time. Talk about it with your family, friends, or a support group. Don’t beat yourself up. When you slip up, don’t consider it a failure, dust yourself off and keep moving in the direction of your goal. Our tips are focused on 4 lifestyle changes – choose one that suits your personal needs and run with it, keeping the others in your back pocket for when the time is right.

If your resolution is to quit smoking, know there are a multitude of resources available. It’s not easy, but it’s so worth it! Did you know that smoking is the most preventable cause of death in the United States? According to the American Heart Association, almost one third of deaths from coronary heart disease can be linked to smoking and secondhand smoke. Visit smokefree.gov for tips, tools and expert advice. Also, you can now access community support, gain motivation and learn proven techniques right from your smartphone: check out Healthline’s list of the best quit smoking apps of 2016.

Check back on Friday, February 3rd for heart-health tips relating to stress.