Happy February! It's American Heart Health Month. Did you know that in the United States, one person dies every 34 seconds from cardiovascular disease? EVERY. 34. SECONDS! Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., especially among women. Each year, 805,000 people in the U.S. have a heart attack and 1 in 5 of these are silent heart attacks - damage occurred, but the person is unaware. 1 in 16 women age 20 years and older have coronary heart disease (reduction of blood flow to the heart muscle due to build-up of plaque in the arteries).
Heart Attack Symptoms
Men may experience...
pain in chest, arms, neck, or jaw
shortness of breath
heartburn or indigestion
Women may experience...
extreme fatigue, sleep disturbances
upper abdomen pain
pain between the shoulder blades
lightheaded or dizzy, shortness of breath
pain in one or both arms
What puts people at risk for heart disease? High blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and smoking are the top risk factors followed by diabetes, obesity (from moderately overweight to morbidly), unhealthy diet, inactive lifestyle, excessive use of alcohol. Early-stage heart disease often has no symptoms so it's important to understand your risks and to be aware of your important numbers!
Trends Worth Watching
It's important to watch for trends when it comes to your health. You may have normal lab results or blood pressure readings, but if each visit has your numbers trending in the wrong direction, this is an early warning sign that something is brewing.
*Basic labs for women
Normal blood pressure: 120/80 mm/Hg
LDL Cholesterol should be less than 70 mg/dl, ideally close to 50 mg/dl.
HDL Cholesterol should be above 50 mg/dl
Triglycerides should be less than 150 mg/dl.
Total Cholesterol below 200 mg/dl.
A1C below 5.7%.
Normal fasting blood sugar under 100 is normal, closer to 80 is ideal.
*There are many other important labs to track too, but if you have never tracked before, you must start somewhere, so start here!
Lifestyle Tips to Improve Heart Health
optimize your sleep: 7-9 hours restful sleep each night
optimize your movement/activity: 30 minutes minimum daily exercise - Walking like your late to get your heart rate up is free and can be done anywhere, even in your home!). Strength training 2-3 times per week (less than 1 hour a week can reduce your risk for heart attack or stroke by 40-70%).
stress management: learn how to decompress, destress, and take breaks, self-care is the real deal - create a routine to take care of you!
positive social connections: relationships affect our physical, mental, emotional well-being. Choose wisely. Set boundaries. Connect often. Cultivate 2-3 good friends you can count on to talk with when you need it most.
nutrition: aim for a diet rich in fiber, antioxidants, nutrient dense food choices - minimally processed vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds should make up the majority of what you eat! When it comes to meat: lean, organic, grass-fed, pasture raised is best and in small quantities, if at all. Avoidance of red meats and processed meats is also recommended since these meats have been deemed class 2A and class 1A carcinogens, respectively.
avoidance of risky behaviors: no tobacco, reduce alcohol, wear your seatbelt, wear a helmet, don't hit things with your head - get treated for concussions or traumatic brain injuries (past or present)
Ladies, hear me on this! We are often in the role of caregiver - for children, for parents, for household, for spouse. We do so much for so many. But, if we are not doing enough for ourselves, chronically putting ourselves on the back burner, waiting for "a better time", the better time may never come or those silent issues may come screaming. Isn't it better to listen to your body when it whispers, than to suffer when it roars!?
In honor of Heart Month, please address your own heart health. If you do not own a blood pressure monitor, you can pick one up on here: https://a.co/d/98SSw5D. If you have never checked your blood sugar, you can easily do so with an at-home blood glucose monitor kit, pick one up here: https://a.co/d/24b4vTe. These are not affiliate links, rather suggested links that have products that can be FSA/HSA eligible. KNOW YOUR NUMBERS! Commit to the lifestyle changes above and, if you need help, do not be ashamed to ask for it. We're all in this together! Trained in Lifestyle Medicine: food as medicine, functional nutrition, positive psychology, behavior change, gut and brain health optimization, I am happy to partner with you on your wellness journey to help you reach your health and wellness goals. I see you love, I invite you to join me on a free Discovery Call to discuss your health and wellness concerns and to find out if health coaching is right for you. BOOK DISCOVERY CALL HERE: https://p.bttr.to/37nWlJ3