Well, Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and we’ve shown our loved ones exactly how much we love them - the more hearts the merrier, right? But, throughout all the excitement of the season we commonly forget to show love to the heart that should really matter– our own. February is American Heart Month, and it’s time we show love to ours by keeping it healthy.
The heart is the lifeline of the body. When it becomes ill, other vital organs can become ill. This is reason enough for us to want to do what we can to keep it as healthy as possible. So, here are some tips to help you show some love to your heart.
Monitor your blood pressure. High blood is often termed the ‘silent killer’. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, and even cause damage to your kidneys and vision. You can check your blood pressure anytime you’d like at any of our Brookshire Brothers Pharmacies for FREE. Our pharmacists are always available to answer questions and give advice, as well.
Get your cholesterol checked. High cholesterol can clog arteries and eventually cause a heart attack. Limiting consumption of certain high-cholesterol foods like egg yolks and shrimp, as well as exercising, can help lower your cholesterol. Check your levels regularly.
Eat a healthy diet. Fresh fruits and veggies along with a low fat diet really make for a healthy heart! Also, keep in mind that salty foods can increase your blood pressure. Try limiting your salt intake by eating fresh vegetables instead of canned ones or by cooking with a salt substitute.
Maintain a healthy weight and exercise. Exercising regularly and eating healthy foods are the best way to keep your weight in check. No time for exercise? Take the stairs at work instead of the elevator. Choose the parking spot furthest away from the door wherever you go. Those extra steps add up.
Don’t use tobacco. The nicotine in tobacco products is a known risk factor for heart disease. Nicotine has also been shown to increase blood pressure and cause blood vessel damage. Ask our pharmacists about products available to help you kick the habit and keep your heart healthy.
Limit alcohol use. The American Heart Association recommends that if you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. This means an average of 1-2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women. Drinking more alcohol than that can cause high blood pressure and contribute to heart disease, among many other life-threatening conditions.
Take your medicine. Your medicine won’t work if you don’t take it. To receive the best benefit, medications should be taken as prescribed by the physician. If you have trouble remembering to take your medication daily, try setting an alarm on your phone to remind you or use a weekly pill box to help you keep track of everything.
-Laura Edmundson, PharmD, RPh