February is American Heart Month – a time when I’m personally reminded of when heart disease suddenly infiltrated my life and the life of my loved ones.
My father’s heart attack at the time was unexpected, but as I learned more about the disease, I realized the warning signs and risk factors were present long before the actual attack. Life was busy, and hence, my father’s health was neglected. A common theme for so many other individuals and families. My father was able to recover from his heart attack, but unfortunately, this isn’t the case for many other families as heart disease and stroke continues to be the #1 killer of Americans.
The good news is that many risk factors that lead to heart disease are preventable through heart healthy lifestyle choices and quality support and care from health experts. Here are some practical tips to get you started on the journey to a healthier heart.
- Eat healthy. Try eating more fruits and vegetables. Striving to have a colorful plate is a great way to ensure fruits and vegetables are a part of every meal. Also, look for ways to reduce salt intake by seasoning food with herbs or spices. This will add new flavors to your food and reduce the need to add additional table salt to your plate.
- Be active. Small sessions of physical activity, such as short 5-10 minute-walks, over the course of the day can make a positive impact on your heart health.
- Manage stress. Too much stress can lead to high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Taking 10, deep, slow breaths; taking walks; or listening to soothing music are some great ways to reduce stress. Emotional health resources are also available to all LCMS workers. Click here to learn more about these resources.
- Quality care and support. Working with a primary care physician or health care expert can help you effectively prevent, identify and/or manage heart health risks. Members and enrolled spouses of the Concordia Health Plan have access to quality health care experts and medical staff that can help answer questions on obesity, high blood pressure or cholesterol levels. Included Health care coordinators can also help you find a quality, in-network doctor or specialist in your area who can support and keep you on the right track to a healthy heart. They can also redirect you to any additional health and wellness programs you may qualify for through the CHP. Click here to get connected to a heath care expert today.
DISCLAIMER: This information is intended for informational purposes only. It is not meant to replace or substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment from a medical professional. Before taking on a new health care regimen, please consult with a qualified service provider with questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.