February is Heart Awareness Month! Show Yourself Some Love!
The month of February is more than just the month for expressing our “hearts” to others, it is also the month for Heart Health Awareness! A time to take some of that love and share it with yourself by checking in with your physical health. If heart-related concerns are relevant for you then this is a reminder to take the time to visit and communicate with your doctor as well as receiving your annual heart health screenings.
To share our love for you and your wellbeing, here is a breakdown of important signs and lifestyle changes. Within this post there are sources for recipes that are more heart health conscious that don’t feel so restricting and are easy to adjust according to any dietary restrictions.
**(When changing or adjusting nutrition, physical activity, or medications always consult with your doctor ahead of such changes.) **
Daniel Kiss M.D., an Interventional Cardiologist at Hackensack Meridian Health, highly suggests watching for the following:
- Experiencing Excess Fatigue: Anywhere from the usual daily activities to light exertion.
- Experiencing Dizziness: This occurs more in those with Heart Rhythm Disorder but can be experienced if the heart is pumping inefficiently therefore causing a drop in Blood Pressure.
- Snoring: This could be a sign of Sleep Apnea, which increases the risk of Heart Disease, Heart Failure or Stroke. Sleep Apnea can also be affected from weight gain which can lead to these risks.
- Leg Pains: Are you experiencing aching sensations when walking or exercising, whether it be light or moderate, but feel fine when sitting? Consult your doctor, for this could be a sign of Peripheral Artery Disease, which increases risks of Heart Attack and Stroke.
- Abnormal Swelling around Ankles: Swelling occurs when the heart doesn’t pump effectively. It is important that you contact your doctor as soon as possible as this could be a sign of heart failure.
- Untreated Depression: Can cause us to move away from healthier lifestyle habits and can be a distraction from noticing worsening symptoms.
Ways to monitor and adjust the stressors in your daily lives.
- Adopting a food lifestyle rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and lean proteins.
- Daily minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity
- Chair yoga
- Full body stretching
- Whatever gets you up and moving!
- It’s time to quit smoking.
- Try to sleep 7-9 hours every night.
- Stay proactive in managing;
- Healthy weight
- Good oral hygiene
- Spend time in nature or meditate.
- Make sure you laugh!
Use your doctor as a source to find you the proper medications and resources to help you maintain your healthiest and happiest self.
Have a wonderful month of sharing love with yourself and others.
Now go treat yourself to some dark chocolate.
Kiss, D., M. D. (2023, season-04). Hidden Signs of Heart Disease. Health U: Hackensack Meridian Health, 12–13.