According to the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease remains the number one cause of death in the United States. This Valentine’s Day, recommitting to a heart healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce your risk for heart disease, ensuring that whenever you do fall head over heels, it won’t be because of a bad ticker.

The following heart health tips are a great place to start:

  • Don’t smoke. Yes, this heart health tip’s THAT According to The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, smokers and tobacco users are far more likely to suffer a heart attack than non-smokers. But quit today, and that risk is cut by half in just one year! Knocking a bad smoking habit is better for your body, overall, from your skin to your teeth, and – of course – your lungs. Quitting an established habit is not easy, but help IS available (1-800-QUIT-NOW, for starters). Secondhand smoke, too, is a concern – and the American Heart Association says exposure contributes to thousands of heart disease fatalities every year. Do everything you can to avoid it, and to protect your children from it, as well.
  • Get regular exercise: The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week (swimming, jogging, biking, you name it). That’s 30 minutes per day, for five days. And no one says you have to stop there. (Just don’t overdo it.)
  • Eat a balanced diet: Opt for more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and cut down on salt, saturated (trans) fats, and unnecessary sugars. Eating a more streamlined diet will not only protect your heart, but it will ultimately help you lose weight, as well.
  • Mind your blood pressure: Both blood pressure and high cholesterol are among the risk factors for heart disease in adults. Consult with your family physician or a doctor Quality First Urgent Care to find out if you are in a risk category. Over the counter blood pressure monitors are available for purchase, as are multiple smartphone applications and fitness wearables that can keep you up to date on your numbers. Making applicable lifestyle changes can help to bring your blood pressure back within a healthy range.
  • Keep calm and move on (seriously, keep moving): Stress should never be underestimated. The effects of extraneous stress can wear a body down, leaving it susceptible to all manner of ailments. While it’s easier said than done, we know – do what you can to eliminate unnecessary stresses in your life. When the tough gets going – take a breath. Take a break. Take a walk. Come back to things with a fresh outlook and lower your risk of heart disease in the process.

The medical team at Quality First Urgent Care provides comprehensive, compassionate care for a wide range of medical services, and telemedicine appointments can be scheduled to treat and diagnose a number of conditions. Schedule an appointment online or call our team at 301-421-1214 to learn more.