Every journey begins with one step, whether it’s climbing a mountain or preventing heart disease and stroke.  Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, costs the United States $312.6 billion each year.  This total includes the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity. These conditions also are leading causes of disability, preventing Americans from working and enjoying family activities.

The American Heart/ Stroke Association designates February as American Heart Month, and it’s a good time to begin your journey to a healthy heart. Follow these 9 lifestyle changes to help prevent heart attack and stroke:

  • Eat a healthy diet.  Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables — adults should have at least 5 servings each day. Eating foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol and high in fiber can help prevent high cholesterol.
  •  Maintain a healthy weight.  Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for heart disease. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, doctors often calculate a number called the body mass index (BMI). Doctors sometimes also use waist and hip measurements to measure a person’s body fat.
  •  Exercise regularly. The Surgeon General recommends that adults should engage in moderate-intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure often has no symptoms, so be sure to have it checked on a regular basis. You can check your blood pressure at home, at a pharmacy, or at a doctor’s office.
  • Don’t smoke.  If you do smoke, quit as soon as possible. Your doctor can suggest ways to help you quit.
  • Limit alcohol use.  Men should have no more than two drinks per day, and women just one.
  • Have your cholesterol checked.  Your health care provider should monitor your cholesterol levels at least once a year.
  • Manage your diabetes. Monitor your blood sugar levels closely, and talk with your doctor about treatment options.
  • Take your medicine.  If you’re taking medication to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Always ask questions if you don’t understand something.

Mather Hospital has been designated a Primary Stroke Center by the New York State Department of Health and a Gold Plus-Target Stroke Award Center by the American Heart/ American Stroke Association.

For more information on the prevention of heart disease and stroke go to:


http://www.everydayhealth.com/heart-health/articles.aspx http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG