When I was growing up, the running joke in our house was how I wanted to be just like my dad. I would go to his work and he would be talking on the telephone with his feet propped up on his desk. When he came home, he would watch television as my mom ran around prepping dinner, helping us girls with our homework. Cleaning up the kitchen and packing lunches for our next school day. Even at a young age, I realized how much my mom did for us and how she kept everything in our household going.
Moms do a lot. We have so many relying on us. It is important for us as moms, caregivers, or mother figures, to take the time to be aware of our risks and take control over the factors that affect our health. Our risk of heart disease and stroke is dependent on many factors. I want to take control of the habits that will make a difference in my health. Cardiovascular disease including stroke is the No. 1 killer of women.
May is American Stroke Month.
Did you know up to 80% of heart disease and stroke be prevented? Many small things you can do every day that will make an impact on your lifelong health.
Know your Risk
Risk factors are behaviors or traits that make you more likely to develop a disease or condition. Having one or more risk factors does not mean that you definitely will develop a condition, only that you are more likely to do so. There are uncontrollable factors such as age, gender, race, and family history. Know that as you age your risk for heart disease or stroke increases.
A woman’s chances for developing high blood pressure increase after menopause. There are many unique factors including pregnancy and menopause that may put women at increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases like high blood pressure, a leading cause of stroke. Nearly half of all adults with high blood pressure are women. That equals nearly 50 million women just in the U.S.
Your risk also increases if a family member has had a stroke. Make sure you know your family history if you can.
Eat a Balanced Diet
According to American Heart Association, a balanced diet gives your body the nutrients it needs to function correctly. These nutrients come from fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and lean proteins. The American Heart Association has recipes for healthy and balanced meals. The site gives you nutrition basics and has great visuals to show you things such as “5 Reasons to Eat More Color” and “4 Ways to Get Good Fats.” It has also shown me how to shop healthy at the grocery store.
Be Physically Active
According to The American Heart Association, only about one in five adults and teens get enough exercise to maintain good health. Being more active not only decreases your chances of cardiovascular disease, but it can also help all people think, feel and sleep better and perform daily tasks more easily. Here are some of the AHA’s site recommendations for adults:
- Get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both preferably spread throughout the week.
- Add moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity (such as resistance or weights) on at least 2 days per week.
- Spend less time sitting. Even light-intensity activity can offset some of the risks of being sedentary.
- Gain even more benefits by being active at least 300 minutes
- Increase amount and intensity gradually over time.
Watch your Weight
Again, so many amazing recommendations on Eating Smart and recipes can be found on The American Heart Association site. They explain how to Eat Healthy without “Dieting” and adding nutritious foods to your already balanced diet can have many health benefits.
This one is simple. If you smoke quit or find help within your community to help you quit. If you do not smoke, do not start. Smoking remains the most important preventable cause of premature death in the country.
Take your Medicine
Make sure you read the labels on your medicine. The American Heart Association recommends reading the labels on over-the-counter pain medicines and considering acetaminophen for pain as an alternative to ibuprofen and naproxen, which can raise your blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about pain relievers that are right for you.
Take your Blood Pressure Daily and Report to your Doctor
Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke and heart disease. Measure your blood pressure routinely and let your doctor know if it is regularly above 120/80. Regularly checking our blood pressure with an at-home monitor and work with your doctor on a plan for managing it.
Up to 80% of heart disease and stroke be prevented. Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke and heart disease. Eating healthy and staying physically active are some of the most important things you can do to prevent cardiovascular diseases like high blood pressure.
So what is one thing you will do today to protect your health for tomorrow? All of these small steps that are mentioned above, measuring your blood pressure, managing your weight, and eating a healthy diet, all can make a big difference for your lifelong health.
Thank you to the American Heart Association for sponsoring this post!