February is American Heart Month. I really love this. It seems perfect somehow that in the month we celebrate our love for each other with Valentine's Day, we can also receive great tools to keep our own hearts healthy and beating strong.
As well, 30 days in is when my own health-related New Year's resolutions typically begin to flag. As such, the onset of American Heart Month offers a well-timed dose of encouragement to keep striving towards my health goals! And did you know that keeping your heart healthy can also save you money (another New Year's resolution many of us share!)? Read on to find out how your New Year's resolutions and American Heart Month can support each other!
10 Great heart health freebies
One in every four adults in the United States each year dies from heart disease or related conditions (stroke, heart attack, hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arrhythmia, heart valve malfunctions).
During American Heart Month, you can benefit from many freebies designed to raise awareness about heart issues.
- Find local heart screenings, blood pressure tests, and cholesterol checks: Search "free heart screening + your city/state."
- Find screenings by state through ParentHeartWatch.
- Register for a "State of Women's Heart Health" webinar.
- Download an online toolkit to learn more about women's heart health.
- Join in National Wear Red Day on February 6th.
- Participate in the Heart Check Simple 7.
- Join in a Heart Walk near you!
- Use Heart360® to track your heart health.
- Help kids learn about their heart (and even hear a heartbeat!).
- Volunteer to present these free lessons in your children's classes.
4 Simple changes to get healthy and save money
The same triggers that cause stress on the heart from cardiovascular disease (CVD)—high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, and diabetes—are also those that can really hit you in the wallet.
Happily, making these changes benefits everyone in your family—yourself and your partner, your children, even your pets!
Best of all, when you reduce or cut out use of these heart-disease triggers, it also puts money back into your pocket!
- Tobacco products. If you smoke or use nicotine products, you automatically increase your risk for heart disease.
- Too much sodium or sweeteners. Aim for 1,500 mg of sodium or less per day, and avoid all artificial sweeteners to reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Alcohol. If you drink more than two drinks per day (men) or one drink per day (women), you’re at a higher risk for heart disease.
- Processed and "fast" foods. Processed foods and fast foods are high in refined ingredients (trans fats, fat substitutes, sodium, artificial sweeteners, carbs) that are implicated in heart disease.