Did you know that February is American Heart Month? In fact, Feb. 2 is National Wear Red Day – a day when we are encouraged to wear red to raise awareness about heart disease.

Why is Heart Health Important?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. According to the American Heart Association, 49 percent of people in the U.S. have at least one of three key risk factors for heart disease, such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol, and
  • Smoking

The good news is that making small changes to your daily habits can make a big difference in your heart health.

Try these Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Regular physical activity and eating a heart-healthy diet (low in saturated fat and rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) can help you control your weight and reduce your chances of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

“Starting out with doing a simple activity like walking for 30 minutes can improve your heart health,” says Dr. Avni Jain, a primary care physician for Adventist Medical Group. “If you are a smoker, quitting can significantly reduce your risk, compared with a nonsmoker over time.”

More Heart-Healthy Tips

These heart-healthy habits can reduce your risk for heart disease, and improve your overall health.

  • Sleep: Aim for 8 hours per night. A good night’s sleep can help reduce stress levels and your risk of heart disease.
  • Stress Less: Whether it’s through meditation, yoga or a nice long walk, find a way to relax. Your heart will thank you.
  • Check-In: Keep up with doctor’s appointments and monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol and chronic conditions, like diabetes.

Raise Awareness – Wear Red!

On Feb. 2, encourage your friends, family, and coworkers to participate in National Wear Red Day by wearing red to increase awareness of heart disease. Throughout the month, educate yourself and your loved ones on heart disease risk factors and take active steps to strengthen your heart.

“Every year, ask your doctor to monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol to assess your risk,” said Dr. Jain.

Remember, your heart works hard around the clock. It deserves a little TLC so that you can stay healthy and happy throughout your life.

Take Adventist HealthCare’s fast, FREE online heart risk assessment for a chance to win a sweet escape to The Hotel Hershey!