Well here we are approaching the zenith of the holiday season. As I write this two days before Christmas and nine days before the New Year, there is plenty going on—almost too much—lots of fun stuff, while also madly wrapping up year-end business.
As February is American Heart Month, the subjects of stress, diet and lack of exercise come to the forefront. As much fun as the holiday season offers, these busy times make it too easy to overdo everything as we’re rushing around trying to fit 10 pounds of activity into a 5-pound bag, all while eating and drinking too much. Walking this path for too long may lead to high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease.
To prevent heart attack or stroke, we can follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines:
- Control your Blood Pressure While high blood pressure is often asymptomatic, more than 67 million Americans have high blood pressure, making it a leading cause of heart disease and stroke.
- Join the Million Hearts® Campaign This national effort aims to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes in the United States by 2017, raising awareness about high blood pressure and how to keep it under control.
- Get it Checked Having your blood pressure checked regularly is important and easy. Doctors’ offices and drugstores offer screenings, and you can even check it yourself at home with a home blood pressure monitor.
- Work with your Health Care Team Ask your doctor what your blood pressure should be, and if it’s not on target, set a goal to lower it with tips from your doctor and health care team to ensure you meet that goal.
- Monitor and Treat Track your blood pressure frequently and take any prescribed medication as directed.
- Quit Smoking! It goes without say, if you don’t smoke, don’t start! Smoking cessation tips and resources are online at CDC’s Smoking and Tobacco website.
- Reduce Sodium Too much sodium can raise blood pressure. Find heart-healthy, lower-sodium recipes, meal plans and helpful articles at the Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Resource Center.
Here’s to your healthy heart and a long life…L’chaim!!