February Is American Heart Month!

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Apple with a heart cut out.Yes Haywood County, February is American Heart Month and the goal of this effort is to encourage you to make heart healthy lifestyle choices that will benefit you heart health.

The American Heart Association emphasizes adopting healthy habits that work best for YOUR life, it is not a one size fits all solution.

Heart disease is a leading cause of death for both men and women in Haywood County as well as the United States. Most middle-aged and young adults have one or more risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or being a smoker or overweight. Having multiple risk factors increases your risk for heart disease.

Take a look at the following recommendations for ideas on where to start adopting YOUR healthy habits:

  • Reduce stress for a healthier version of you.
  • Get 7-8 hours of quality sleep.
  • Move more by finding and doing physical activity that you enjoy. Staying active may lower blood pressure, control weight gain, pump more oxygen into your heart and reduce stress – a leading cause of heart attacks and strokes.
  • Commit to healthy eating by preparing more meals at home. Check in with  N.C. Cooperative Extension in Haywood County for more information on upcoming Med Instead of Meds classes Check out USDA’s My Plate for information on choosing a healthy eating pattern. Healthy eating starts with healthy food choices. Learn what to look for in the grocery store to create simple, heart-healthy meals that you and your family will love.
  • Focus on your blood pressure and commit to lowering it if necessary. Work with your healthcare provider to get it or keep it in a healthy range.
  • Quit smoking. Check out these free resources to help you quit: hhs.gov and Smokefree.gov

You don’t have to make big changes all at once. Small steps will get you where you want to go!

For more information on establishing a heart healthy lifestyle contact julie_sawyer@ncsu.edu or call 828-456-3575.