American Heart Month
February is American Heart Month. Get smart with your heart and learn your risks for heart disease and stroke.
As part of Yale New Haven Health System (YNHHS), Northeast Medical Group is affiliated with five leading regional hospitals – Bridgeport, Greenwich, Yale New Haven, Lawrence + Memorial and Westerly – who are proudly participating in American Heart Month to help prevent heart disease and increase awareness of its effects.
Know Your Numbers
According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Knowing your health numbers, which are outlined below, will help in lowering your risk of developing heart disease. We encourage you to work with your healthcare team to obtain these numbers. Your doctor or advanced practice clinician can check for conditions such as diabetes and blood pressure that can contribute to heart disease.
- Blood pressure
- Cholesterol levels
- Body mass index (BMI) – BMI is the measure of body fat based on height and weight
- Blood sugar levels
Live a Healthy Lifestyle and Lower Your Risk
You can control many risk factors for heart disease by knowing your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels as well as your BMI numbers, along with these healthy habits:
- Eat healthy – Heart healthy eating is an important step toward preventing heart disease. Limit your saturated fat intake, Trans Fats and dietary cholesterol. Also, choose monounsaturated fats such as olive oil and canola oil, and eat low fat, high protein options such as lean meat, fish, white meat chicken, and low fat dairy products. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and increase your intake of Omega 3 fatty acids, which can be found in walnuts, almonds, soybeans, and flaxseed. Foods to avoid include: Trans Fats in bakery products, partially hydrogenated margarine, and high fat content meats and dairy products.
- Exercise – By exercising regularly you can maintain a healthy weight and lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes a day, five times a week of exercise. Even if you divide your time into two or three segments of 10 to 15 minutes per day, you will also experience benefits. Please check with your doctor before you start any exercise program.
- Don’t smoke – If you smoke, seek out a program that can help you to quit. Here is one suggested resource to help you stop smoking: Smoking Cessation Service.
- Limit alcohol use – Too much alcohol can increase your blood pressure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that men limit themselves to two drinks per day, and women to no more than one.
- Reduce stress – Make time for a daily relaxation routine, like yoga or meditation.
Are you looking for a primary care physician or cardiologist? Use our physician search tool to find an internal medicine physician or family medicine physician or a cardiologist in your area.
For more information about heart health, visit ynhhs.org/smarthearts.