February is both Black History Month and American Heart Month. Both are incredibly important, especially to me. It's so important for everyone, especially African Americans, to take care of their heart.
According to statistics, heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, with one in four deaths being caused by heart disease. In the black community, the rates are much higher, causing 48% of women and 44% of men to die from heart disease. High blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes are all leading risk factors to heart disease.
These are some lifestyle changes you can make to lower your chances of suffering from heart disease.
1. Exercise! Exercise! Exercise!
2. Know your numbers.
Check in with your doctor to see about your blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels. If something seems a little high or a little low, don't freak out! Just make sure to ask the questions in order to get them to normal. On the other hand, if something seems high or low, don't ignore it, address it!
3. Watch what you eat.
Talk is very cheap people! We (meaning I) must do better about actually changing our diet and not just talking about it.
4. Take your meds.
5. Lower your stress.
6. Quit smoking.
I mean really, why is this even still a thing?
7. Cut back on the salt.
Yes, that means less processed food and restaurants, I know.
8. Know your family history.
Ask your parents and grandparents what your family health history is like. You never know what could be genetically a threat to your life!
9. Find a primary doctor.
I am guilty when it comes to not wanting to go to the doctor. I am not a fan of any doctors, but that doesn't mean I don't need to do better. Find a primary doctor, but make sure it is somebody you like! The experience is always much better when you actually enjoy your visits.
10. Spread the word.
Teach your family members, especially your kids, how to take care of themselves and lower their chances as well. A healthy family is a happy family!