Heart Month is over, but Northern Arizona Healthcare’s team of board-certified cardiologists, nurses and other experts work together all year long to prevent and treat heart disease.
As part of NAH’s commitment to your health, we’re offering an online heart disease health risk assessment, which estimates your risk of developing heart disease; point out what you are doing well; and suggest what else you can do to lower your risk.
This free assessment is available all year – go to NAHealth.com/HeartMonth.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. Although some risk factors are genetic, you control much of your heart health through the choices you make every day regarding your diet; how much you exercise; whether you smoke; and how you manage stress. Here are the tips we’ve shared during Heart Month from the experts at NAH:
- According to the World Heart Federation, a middle-aged woman doing less than one hour of exercise per week doubles her risk of dying from a cardiovascular event compared to a physically active woman of the same age. Even small increases in physical fitness are associated with a significant reduction in risk. One study showed that walking at least two hours a week reduced the incidence of premature death from heart disease by about 50 percent. – Cardiologist Kenneth Bescak, M.D., F.A.C.C.
- It is estimated that smoking increases your risk of heart disease by 100 percent, and increases your risk of death from undiagnosed heart disease by 300 percent. Although smoking causes a great deal of damage, quitting smoking effectively reduces your risk of heart disease to close to that of a person who has never smoked over a period of time. – Cardiologist Eric Cohen. M.D., F.A.C.C., F.S.C.A.I.
- You’re most prone to heart attacks in the morning because stress hormones peak early in the day, causing cholesterol plaque built up in the arteries to rupture and block the flow of blood to the heart. You can help control your stress in whatever way works best for you – doing yoga; meditating; or simply walking outside and enjoying some fresh air. – Cardiologist Samuel M. Butman, M.D., M.H.A., F.A.C.C., F.S.C.A.I.
- Low fruit and vegetable intake accounts for about 20 percent of heart disease. Eating a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables helps protect against heart disease. – Cardiology Adult Nurse Practitioner Monica Rauton, D.N.P., A.N.P.-B.C.