Focusing On Your Cardiovascular Health During American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month, meaning it's the perfect time to pay some more attention to your cardiovascular health.

posted on 2/3/2022 in BLOGS from St. Anthony

HeartTaking care of your heart lowers your chances of heart disease, heart attack, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. However, keeping up with your cardiovascular health is much more about getting into some daily habits that will keep your heart in shape rather than one doctor’s visit. 

To keep your cardiovascular health up, you may need to adjust parts of your daily lifestyle. Fortunately, most of the things you can do to keep your heart healthy are pretty easy to adapt to and will keep the rest of your health up, too! 

Consider adding some of these practical tips to your daily routine so you can live a heart-healthy lifestyle: 

Diet: Diet is one of the primary factors in keeping your heart healthy. Try to fill up on fresh fruits and vegetables as much as possible, like eggplants, citrus, mangos, which will also lower your cholesterol and give you your daily dose of vitamins. Stay away from high-sodium canned vegetables or fruits in heavy, sugary syrups. Fish is also great for the heart, particularly oily fishes like salmon, mackerel, sardines, or fresh tuna. And try to switch to whole grain when you can – you’ll get lots of healthy fats and fiber. 

Portion Control: As part of your diet, do your best to control your eating portions. This will help you limit the amount of salt, sugar, and saturated fats you allow into your body, which all increase your risk for high cholesterol, blood pressure, and heart disease. Take note of the recommended portion sizes, and remember that restaurant servings are often more than you should be eating: pasta should only be about ⅓ or ½ cup, and meat should be about the size and thickness of a deck of cards. 

Exercise: Regular physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your cardiovascular health. One hundred fifty minutes of moderate exercise throughout the week is enough to lower your risk of heart disease. Consider a 30-minute walk at lunch every day, running, yoga, cycling, or anything else that will increase your heart rate. Just remember to choose activities you love doing so you’re more likely to continue exercising and to set realistic goals. 

Weight: With a healthy diet and an exercise routine, you should be able to keep your weight down. If you’re overweight, you may want to incorporate more of these tips to help you lose some weight. Keeping your weight down will lower your risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes. Cut back on sugar, saturated fats, and alcohol, and replace them with more movement and healthy produce. 

Smoking: One of the leading causes of cardiovascular disease is smoking. Due to the reduced amount of oxygen and damage to their lungs, smokers are twice as likely to have a heart attack when compared to non-smokers. Quitting smoking is never easy, but the sooner you do it, the healthier you’ll be. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help and get the support you need so you can quit smoking for good. 

St. Anthony Regional Hospital is dedicated to improving the health of the people we serve. Our experienced doctors work hard to provide the high-quality health care you deserve while being responsive to the needs of our patients and community. Visit our website to learn more, or call us at 712-792-3581 to schedule an appointment today. 


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