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American Heart Month: Helpful tips to reduce the risk of heart disease

Written By | Feb 9, 2021

Thanks to Guillaume LORAIN @glorain for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁

February is American Heart Month and with Valentine’s Day a few days away, it makes us stop and think about matters of the heart.

American Heart Month is the perfect time to love your heart!

According to the CDC, almost half of Americans have one of the three factors that put them at risk for heart disease.

The top three risk factors for heart disease are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking, and millions of Americans suffer from high blood pressure.

A healthy lifestyle is key to heart health

Part of the U.S. Department of Health, and Human Services (HHS), the Office of Disease Prevention offers these suggestions that can help you and your family live a heart-healthy lifestyle:

Eliminate salt in the diet by using salt substitutes such as spices
Encourage physical activity at home and during school’
Keep weight at a normal level
Control cholesterol and blood pressure
Consume alcohol in moderation

Thanks to Jamie Street @jamie452 for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁

Eat heart healthy

Consuming foods that are low in fat and cholesterol, while focusing on consuming fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains could go a long way toward reducing an individual’s blood pressure and maintaining a healthy heart.


Smoking cessation is another key factor in maintaining an individual’s heart health. Even for long-time smokers, cutting out tobacco consumption has been clearly demonstrated to reduce the risk of heart disease as well as the risk for heart attacks.

In addition, monitoring blood pressure routinely throughout the year while under the supervision of a healthcare professional is extremely important in maintaining heart health. Normally, your family doctor or cardiologist will begin by establishing a baseline blood pressure reading.

From that point, your physician will follow up with periodic monitoring, to measure the effects of any progress you’ve made by adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle.

On the downside, there are very real and personal costs for refusing to pay attention to heart health. Individuals that ignore heart health will almost certainly undermine their chances to enjoy long-term health and a better quality of life.

Heart attack warning signs

“A heart attack feels like a hand squeezing your heart….it’s like the worst Charley Horse you can imagine-in your heart,” lamented a long-term smoker named Roosevelt in an article published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The American Heart Association offers warning signs for the onset of a heart attack. Anyone experiencing these signs should seek medical attention immediately.

Key signs:

Discomfort in the area of the heart or other areas of the upper body
Shortness of breath
Other signs, such as nausea and sweating
It is important to note that any warning sign or combination thereof could last just a few minutes before disappearing. Warning signs can also come and go or could manifest as pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

Oftentimes, heart attack symptoms experienced by women can be quite different than those experienced by men.

Overall, however, the best way to maintain heart health is to be proactive and to practice consistent and positive prevention measures.

Thanks to Khadeeja Yasser @k_yasser for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁

Keeping heart health always in mind is the best way to boost the odds that any heart that might get broken will not turn out to be your own

Especially during times of COVID, valuing others from the heart is foremost for many, as those closest and dearest become even more relevant.

With love in the air this Valentine’s Day, remembering what is in the heart means the very most of all.

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at LifeCycles

Until next time enjoy the ride in good health!

(Main image: Thanks to Guillaume LORAIN @glorain for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁 )

Laurie Edwards-Tate

Since 1984, Laurie Edwards-Tate has served as President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare, a non-medical Home Care Aide Organization, serving seniors, disabled, infirm and children. Laurie is Board of Director 2018 (elected), Palomar Health; Executive Board Member; Chair Board Human Resources Committee; Member of Audits & Compliance Committee; Community Relations Committee.