“Speaking from the heart”

HeartValentines day is around the corner, a perfect time to show your sweet heart just how deeply you care for them: so want not add one more sweetheart to your list this year…. your heart.

The month of February is also, American Heart Month, and since 1963 Congress has required the president to proclaim February, American Heart Month. The American Heart Association  We invite you this month to take a moment to give your heart some TLC.

Cardiovascular diseases, including stroke, are our nation’s  number one killer. As we get older our bodies can become more vulnerable to many ailments including ones that afflict the heart.  

What are some of the simple steps that you can take to boost your heart’s health?

Stop puffing!

No SmokeIf you’re one of the millions of Americans who are still smoking, know this: With every puff, you’re dramatically increasing your chances of suffering a life-threatening heart attack. The chemicals in tobacco smoke raise blood pressure, reduce good cholesterol (HDL) and damage your blood vessels. But if you can find a way to quit and stay away from smoking permanently, you can reduce your risk almost immediately, and eliminate tobacco’s negative effects within three years.

There’s really no more significant thing you can do to improve the health of your heart than quitting smoking,” says Dr. Michael Fiore who heads the UW Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention. “It’s startling how much it can reduce your risk.”

choose your gasWhile several recent studies have suggested that consuming moderate amounts of red wine may be beneficial to the heart, excessive drinking of wine, beer or hard liquor can result in both weight gain (see next item) and increased blood pressure. And if you’re a chronically heavy drinker, you’re poisoning your heart and risking cardiomyopathy-an enlarged and permanently damaged heart.

“Alcohol’s effect on the heart is not straightforward,” says Stein. “But a good general rule of thumb is not to drink alcohol for heart health. If you do drink alcohol, drink only in moderation. That means no more than one ounce of hard liquor, four ounces of wine or 12 ounces of beer per day.”

Inflating the spare tire.

Spare TireResearchers have recently discovered that belly fat-in other words, a sizable spare tire-is a huge predictor of heart disease risk. In fact, at least one recent study has suggested that for every two inches you add to your gut, your risk of heart disease increases nearly 20 percent.   

The bottom line is good heart health starts off with better habits. Speaking from the heart, it does not have to be so complicated when it come to matters of the heart.

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