February is American Heart Month, so it’s a good time to focus on your health to help avoid potential medical issues, such as heart attacks and heart disease. About 659,000 people in the United States die from heart disease each year—that’s 1 in every 4 deaths, according to the CDC. 1
The good news: you can actively prevent heart disease by making simple, sustainable changes.
The best way to reduce your risk for heart attacks and heart disease is to eat healthily. A heart-healthy diet includes high-fiber foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and certain fats (like those found in olive oil and fish), as well as foods that are low in saturated fat, added sugars, and sodium.
How much you eat is just as important as what you eat. Using a smaller plate, filling that plate with more low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods, and keeping track of servings2 will help keep you from taking on more calories than you need.
Drinking too much alcohol can increase your risk of heart disease. A moderate amount of alcohol means one drink or less per day for women and two drinks or less per day for men, according to health.gov.
Smoking cigarettes can harm nearly every part of your body, including your heart and blood vessels, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). When cigarette smoke is breathed in, the toxic mix of chemicals can interfere with some pretty important stuff, like the delivery of oxygen-rich blood to your heart and the rest of your body. If you do smoke cigarettes, the CDC advises that quitting smoking will benefit your heart and cardiovascular system right away, as well as in the future.
Exercising regularly can improve your cardiovascular health to strengthen your heart and keep it healthy. To prevent health problems, it’s a good idea to spend at least 2.5 hours exercising each week, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.3 Being active will not only help to prevent heart disease, but it will also help you feel better, think more clearly, and perform daily tasks more easily.
Excess stress can contribute to high blood pressure, strain your heart, and may increase your risk for heart attacks or strokes. Learning how to cope with anxiety and manage stress can improve both your mental and physical health. To reduce stress levels in your life try deep breathing4, spending time in nature, or speaking to a professional counselor.
Chris Regione, Chief Underwriter for Sammons Financial Group, says it’s not a deal-breaker.
“Midland National has insured many people that have either a history of coronary artery disease, certain types of arrhythmias, or valvular disorders.”
If you’re thinking about seeking out life insurance coverage or have been putting it off, Regione’s advice is simple: don’t wait.
The cost of life insurance can still be affordable, even if you have a history of heart health issues. Regione says that the price is based on a variety of factors, like physician follow-up and complying with your doctor’s recommendations to keep heart problems under control.
“Those are some of the factors that help get you coverage at the best possible rate class,” added Regione.
This American Heart Month, do yourself and your family a favor – spend some time considering the ways in which you can better safeguard your heart with healthier living and your family’s financial future with life insurance.
A heart attack can occur if blood flow to the heart is suddenly blocked. Some common signs of a heart attack include:
A heart attack can happen quickly with signs occurring right before, but sometimes they manifest slowly. Contact your doctor if you develop any of the symptoms above.
1 Source: “Facts About Hypertension” National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion , Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, September 27, 2021
2 Source: “Suggested Servings from Each Food Group” American Heart Association, November 1, 2021
3 Source: “Physical Activity Guidelines” Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, August 24, 2021
4 Source: “Coping With Stress” National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Population Health, July 22, 2021
CDC.gov (www.cdc.gov) is your online source for credible health information and is the official website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Placement of a CDC.gov linking graphic or text link is to be used only as a marker to the CDC.gov home page. A link does not indicate any form of endorsement or approval from CDC, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives for all.
Health.gov is the website of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion