Heart Health: Do You Have A Plan?

February is American Heart Month and also a great opportunity to analyze your diet and exercise routine and make sure you have a healthy heart plan.

Were you aware that only one out of six people who try to fight fat with a weight control pan actually stay with it over a sustained period? But there is still hope and you can increase your odds of sticking to a plan by setting realistic goals, logging your activities and surrounding yourself with supportive people.

Diet and exercise also helps avoid hypertension also known as chronically high blood pressure as well as cardiovascular disease, strokes, heart attacks and atherosclerosis.

Heart Facts

  • Aging is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and being inactive or gaining weight doesnt help either.

  • About a third of adults die of cardiovascular disease.

  • Men develop cardiovascular diseases at an earlier age than women but after age 60, the chances are equal.

  • Estrogen protects women until menopause, but then their chances increase.


Men and women should also be aware of heart attack signs. Men are more likely to experience a sharp chest pain and shortness of breath while women may think they have heartburn or acid reflux when they are really having a heart attack.

We are all at risk for cardiovascular disease and making any changes can be beneficial, says Anne Mathews, registered dietician and University of Florida assistant professor in food science and human nutrition. So if you are thinking about making a change in your health behaviors, some of the things we know will help are to get help from a registered dietitian or a doctor, and get help from the people around you asking them to help keep you more active. Keep track of what youre doing, such as how often you drink water and eat fruits and vegetables. Plan ahead and problem solve any foreseen challenges such as a change in schedule, and recognize your successes.

Mathews also cautions patients to work at reducing their blood pressure and not smoke as it increases their chances for cardiovascular diseases. She added that cardiovascular disease not only limits lifespans but also costs a lot of money. She quoted a projected figure published in 2013 in the journal Circulation that estimates the U.S. will spend $900 billion in 2015 in direct and indirect costs for treating cardiovascular diseases.

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