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Love Your Heart!

Updated: Feb 13



February is Heart Health Awareness Month, a perfect time to spread awareness and

take action to improve heart health. Caring for your heart should be a top priority; it's

central to your overall health and directly impacts longevity and quality of life. I want to

provide you with the critical information you need to understand heart disease risk

factors, prevention methods, lifestyle changes, and screening tests to consider. My goal

is to equip you with actionable tips to start actively taking better care of your heart.

What does it mean to love your heart? It means showing your heart affection and

gratitude—appreciating all it allows your body to do daily. It means listening to your

heart by paying attention to both the physical and emotional signals it gives you, from

flutterings to anxiety. It means caring for your heart tenderly by managing stress, getting

adequate rest, maintaining healthy relationships, and seeing your physician regularly.

Fundamentally, loving your heart is about connecting to your heart rather than just

analyzing it. Research shows that emotions and self-perceptions influence heart health.

So, this Heart Health Month, examine your numbers, blood pressure, cholesterol, and

blood sugar, but also think about sitting quietly and consciously sending your heart love

and positivity. Tune into this incredible organ that has been beating steadily inside you

since birth. When we love our hearts, they will, in turn, love us back through each life-

sustaining pulse.



Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in America, taking over 670,000 lives

each year. The good news is that it's largely preventable through lifestyle changes and adequately managing risk factors. The most critical number to know is your blood

pressure reading, as hypertension is a primary driver of heart attacks and strokes. Diet

and exercise also play central roles in keeping arteries clear and your heart muscle

strong.

The significant risk factors for heart disease include:

  • High blood pressure

  • High cholesterol

  • Smoking

  • Diabetes

  • Obesity

  • Physical inactivity

  • Unhealthy diet

  • Family history

The more risk factors you have and the higher the levels, the greater your chance of

developing blocked arteries, heart attack, stroke, and heart damage. Monitor your blood

pressure, get annual screening tests with your doctor, and be aware of warning signs

like chest pain, an irregular heartbeat, fatigue, and shortness of breath.


Prevention Is Key


While some risk factors, like family history and age, are out of your control, many are

within your power to change. Preventive steps are critical because heart disease

develops slowly, with few noticeable symptoms, until damage occurs. Helping your heart

now prevents problems down the road.

Top prevention methods include:

  • Not smoking

  • Exercising 30+ minutes per day

  • Eating a heart-healthy diet high in veggies, fiber and lean protein

  • Maintaining a healthy weight

  • Managing conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes



Small, consistent lifestyle changes make the most significant impact over time. Prioritize

exercise you enjoy, learn healthy versions of your favorite recipes, and work on one

change at a time instead of doing too much too fast. I encourage tracking your progress,

which helps you stay motivated.

I challenge you to take at least one step this Heart Health Month to improve your heart

health. This could include:

  • Getting your blood pressure checked

  • Scheduling an annual physical

  • Going for a walk three times per week

  • Reducing sodium and processed foods

  • Signing up for a CPR course

  • Monitoring your numbers with a fitness tracker

Every action, large and small, is necessary for prevention. Use February as the

launching point to make heart health the priority it deserves to be year-round. Let today

be the day you start, and know that I am here to support your journey toward a more

robust, healthier heart. Let the focus on love this month expand beyond romance and

shine that caring light on your heart and overall well-being.


With love, to your health,

Audrey


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