September 29th is World Heart Day!
World Heart Day is an annual global campaign that was launched by the World Heart Federation in 2000. This campaign is committed to bringing awareness to the number one killer in the world that claims 17.9 million lives each year—heart disease.
Although heart disease impacts both genders, it’s the leading cause of death for men, fatally affecting 1 in every 4 males. World Heart Day is an opportunity for men all around the world to take control of their cardiovascular health and encourage others to do the same.
To do our part, we’re sharing the risks, symptoms, and ways to keep your heart in tip-top shape!
Threats and Signs
A 2016 study found that 53% of men surveyed agreed their health isn’t something they talk about, and only three in five men get yearly physicals. Yet, according to the CDC, at least 80% of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke could have been avoided. The leading health risks for men are not a secret, they’re common and preventable. Not all cardiovascular issues show symptoms, so it’s essential to regularly visit the doctor for checkups and screenings.
The risk factors for heart failure include:
- High blood pressure
- Coronary Artery Disease
- Sleep apnea
- Alcohol use
- Tobacco use
The symptoms of heart failure may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Weakness and fatigue
- Irregular heartbeat
- Rapid heartbeat
- Swelling in your feet, ankles, and legs
- Inability to exercise
- Constant cough or wheezing
- Rapid weight gain and fluid retention
- Lack of appetite and nausea
- Decreased alertness
- Chest pain
As with many health issues, two of the best ways to improve cardiovascular health is through diet and exercise.
Get Your Blood Pumping
We’ve all heard about the positive benefits of cardio: mood improvements, better sleep, muscle toning, improved focus, and more. But if none of those reasons motivate you to lace up your running shoes, how about the undeniable influences it has on heart health and longevity?
The Annual Review of Public Health released a study in 2011 on the relationship between physical activity and cardiovascular disease, or CVD. The results show that physical inactivity is associated with the highest risk for CVD, while volumes of high aerobic exercise are associated with the lowest risk of CVD.
The American Heart Association recommends the average person engage in at least two-and-a-half hours of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise per week. However, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that only one-half of Americans meet these guidelines.
Work it in Where You Can
Implementing cardio into your week doesn’t mean you have to start training for a marathon. Spice up your cardio routine with these 10 unique exercises guaranteed to get your heart rate up:
- Speed Walking
- Jumping Rope
- Climbing Stairs
Although cardio is the most effective type of exercise for heart health, any type of mobility is better for your heart than immobility. Scientists and Doctors have found the activity requiring the least amount of energy that still produces health benefits is standing. Standing, although requiring minimum effort, can improve overall health by reducing risks caused by prolonged sitting. On days when your schedule isn’t flexible enough to fit in a cardio session, try to work in time on your feet throughout the day!
Refine Your Diet
Heart disease occurs when fatty deposits gradually build up on the artery walls that carry blood to the heart, causing them to narrow. Things like sodium, fats, and cholesterol all contribute to this build up over time. Other food-related cardiovascular health risks include obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Generally, men naturally have higher blood pressure than women and develop cardiovascular disease earlier. Because of this, it becomes increasingly important as you age to eat food that fuels your body rather than harms it.
Small changes in your diet can have a powerful positive effect on your long-term health and wellness. An easy way to ensure you’re ordering and purchasing heart-healthy foods is to look for Heart-Check’s mark of approval.
Heart-Check has been a trustworthy organization since 1995, identifying heart-healthy foods by adding their signature Heart-Check mark. When you’re dining out or shopping at the grocery store, look for the American Heart Association’s name and a red heart with a white checkmark on the menu or package. This mark indicates the AHA has approved the food or meal for meeting nutrition standards that support a healthy heart diet. In a 2015 study, people who reported eating foods that met the Heart-Check requirements had less of a risk for heart disease.
Clean up your diet by incorporating these delicious Heart-Check certified recipes into your meal plan:
- Farmers Market Omelets
- Whole-Wheat Walnut Pancakes
- Overnight Oats
- Shrimp and Avocado Pasta Salad
- Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
- Grilled Jerk Chicken Sandwich
- Stuffed Quinoa Peppers
- Grilled Pork & Lemon Veggies
- Zucchini Noodles
Pledge to yourself and your loved ones this World Heart Day to protect your most important organ!
We’re Here to Help
At Alexandria Emergency Hospital, we are equipped to handle any medical issues, no matter how small or severe. From testing for diabetes and checking your blood pressure, to treating chest pains, heart attacks, strokes, congestive heart failure, blood clots, and more—we have you covered! Our staff is available 24/7, 365, to give you the quick and compassionate care you deserve.
Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, Alexandria Emergency Hospital and Nutex Health state no content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.
Nutex Health, Inc supports you and your family’s health. You can depend on Alexandria Emergency Hospital, or any one of our concierge-level, medical facilities to deliver the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.