Nelson Mandela once said, “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” Today, let’s test your head knowledge about your heart! Take the knowledge you learn in this post and apply it to better heart health for the rest of the year to come…
#1 – Fast Facts About Tennessee Heart Health
Heart disease is a national health problem, and Tennessee is no exception. According to the Tennessee Department of Health:
- “Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Tennessee, accounting for approximately 27% of deaths…”
- “Stroke is the third leading cause of death…”
- “Together, heart disease and stroke account for 1 out of 3 deaths in Tennessee each year.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that Tennessee had the sixth highest heart disease death rate among all states in 2017. The good news is, many cases of heart disease can be prevented. It starts by knowing your risk factors.
#2 – Heart Disease Risk Factors
While some risk factors may be hereditary, others are within your control. Let’s look at a few heart disease risk factors that your doctor at St. Thomas Medical Group may help you manage:
- Hypertension: High blood pressure can increase risk for heart disease and stroke by putting excessive pressure on the walls of the arteries. High blood pressure may be managed through diet and exercise. Medication may also be an option.
- Smoking: Once inhaled, the chemicals in cigarette smoke can cause clots to form in the blood, increasing the risk for heart attack and stroke.
- High LDL Cholesterol: High cholesterol can cause fatty deposits to build up in the arteries, blocking healthy blood flow. Reducing saturated fats, eliminating trans fats, and increasing fiber intake can help lower LDL cholesterol.
- Diabetes: Excess sugar in the bloodstream can damage blood vessels and nerves. By preventing or managing diabetes, you may be able to lower your risk for heart disease.
#3 – Action Items: Own Your Heart Health!
What can you do to improve your overall heart health?
- Stay active. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week – that’s 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
- Quit smoking. If you smoke, talk to your Nashville doctor at St. Thomas Medical Group about quitting.
- Lose weight. One recent study found that overweight or obese adults between the ages of 40 and 59 were at a 21 to 85 percent higher risk for developing heart disease than adults of the same age in a normal weight range.
- Eat healthy. Sodium, trans fats, saturated fats, and sugar all increase risk for heart disease. Cut these unhealthy ingredients and replace them with whole foods, such as heart healthy fruits, vegetables, and grains.
- See your doctor. Your doctor can make specific recommendations based on your personal health history. Your doctor would be thrilled to hear you say, “I want to make changes to reduce my risk for heart disease. Where do I start?” In many cases, patients are reactive to new developments in their health. Be proactive and start making positive heart health changes today – before any warning signs appear.