February is American heart Month so this month we will be talking mainly about what you can do to reduce your risks of heart disease and heart attack.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the USA, accounting for 1 in every 4 deaths. 715,000 Americans have a heart attack every year and a further 600,000 die from heart disease. But it’s not all bad news; experts say that nearly 80% of heart disease is preventable.

Being overweight is considered to be one of the major risk factors for heart disease and heart attack, especially if you carry a lot of weight around your middle, which puts additional strain on the heart.

But being overweight doesn’t guarantee that you will have heart problems. Whatever your weight, you can reduce your risk of heart attack.

Get Moving…….

Research shows that a sedentary lifestyle, where you don’t move around much can increase your risk of heart attack almost as much as smoking. According to the Mayo Clinic moving around for just ten minutes extra a day could reduce your risk of heart disease by as much as 50%. If you are don’t move around or walk much, or you are obese, those precious ten minutes of walking could save your life.

Get off the bus a stop early, or just walk around your house while you are on the phone. Take the stairs instead of the lift or get up from your desk to talk to a colleague….. simple changes to get your ten minutes of exercise could improve your heart health.

Sleep More……

Lack of sleep can do more than make you feel tired. It can damage your health too. Lack of sleep can contribute to weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes and depression as well as heart attack. The modern American’s habit of staying up late and rising early means that many of us don’t get enough sleep. This leads to a build-up of hormones in the body which can lead to high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Research shows that sleeping for less than 6 hours a night and having disturbed sleep can increase the risk of developing or dying from heart disease by almost 50% and stroke by 15%. Try to aim for at least 7 hours’ sleep a night. Not only will you feel better but your heart will be healthier too.

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