By Cynthia A. Keely, BA, RRT, LRTR, Director, Quality and Systems Improvement, Get With The Guidelines, American Heart Association/American Stroke Association
Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference
This World Heart Day, we’re asking you to share how you power your heart and inspire millions of people around the world to be heart healthy. Cardiovascular disease (CVD), which includes heart disease and stroke, is the world’s number one killer. Each year, it’s responsible for 17.5 million premature deaths, and by 2030 this is expected to rise to 23 million. But the good news is CVD can be prevented by making just a few simple daily changes, like eating well, getting more exercise, and stopping smoking. So this World Heart Day, make sure you share the power and tell the world what you and your family are doing to make a lasting difference to your health.
Fuel your heart. Move your heart. Love your heart. And share the power!
Know Your Risk
Looking after your heart starts with understanding your risk, so make sure you know all your health numbers. Visit your healthcare professional and ask for a few simple checks. Remember, knowledge is power.
Fuel Your Heart
- Eating and drinking well gives your heart the fuel it needs for you to live your life.
- Try not to eat so many processed and prepackaged foods which are often high in sugar and fat.
- Cut down on sugary beverages and fruit juices – choose water or unsweetened juices instead.
- Swap sweet, sugary treats for fresh fruit as a healthy alternative.
- Try to eat 5 portions (about a handful each) of fruit and vegetables a day – they can be fresh, frozen, tinned or dried.
- Keep the amount of alcohol you drink within recommended guidelines.
- Make your own healthy school or work lunches at home.
Move Your Heart
Staying active can help you reduce your risk of heart disease and feel great.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity 5 times a week
- Playing, walking, housework, dancing – they all count!
- Be more active every day – take the stairs, walk or cycle instead of driving
- Exercise with friends and family – you’ll be more motivated and it’s more fun!
- Before you start any exercise plan check with a healthcare professional.
- Download an exercise app or use a pedometer to keep track of your progress.
Love Your Heart
Stopping smoking is the single best thing you can do to improve your heart health.
- Within two years of quitting, the risk of coronary heart disease is substantially reduced.
- Within 15 years the risk of CVD returns to that of a non-smoker.
- Exposure to secondhand smoke is also a cause of heart disease in non-smokers. So, by quitting you’ll not only improve your health but that of those around you.
- If you’re having trouble stopping smoking, ask for professional advice on how to quit.
- You can also ask your employer if they provide smoking-cessation services.
For information on how to better take care of your heart, visit the American Heart Association at www.heart.org today!
For more information on World Heart Day, visit the following: