How Can I Protect Myself From Heart Disease?

February might have been American Heart Month, but it’s important to take good care of your heart year-round! Almost 650,000 Americans die of heart disease each year—that’s one in four.

So, what can you do to lower your risk of developing heart disease and keep your heart healthy and strong? Our team at AFC Urgent Care South Charlotte wants to shed some light on the topic.

What Is Heart Disease?

Well, that’s a little tricky, actually. Heart disease is a catch-all phrase that encompasses conditions that affect your heart. So it’s not just one condition.

Forms of heart disease include coronary heart disease, arrhythmia, heart valve disease and heart failure. Of those, coronary heart disease, or CHD, is the most common type and occurs when plaque builds up on artery walls and limits blood flow to the heart.

Risk Factors for Heart Disease

  • Smoking
  • High LDL cholesterol and/or low HDL cholesterol
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Obesity
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Excess stress

How Can I Protect My Heart?

The first step toward lowering your risk of heart disease is knowing your individual risk factors. Start by looking at the list above and determining which apply to you.

Beyond those risk factors, though, you also want to consider risks that are unique to you. If you’re African American, for example, your risk of developing heart disease is higher, especially if your blood pressure is elevated or you have diabetes that’s not well-controlled. Take steps to mitigate the risk factors you can and manage any health conditions you have.

Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Habits

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption.
  • Get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes most days.
  • Eat a diet low in saturated fat, sodium and added sugars.
  • Work with a doctor to manage any chronic conditions you have.

Not feeling at your best? Schedule an AFC TeleCare appointment with AFC Urgent Care South Charlotte to get the care you need from the comfort of home.