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Happy Heart Month!  What a blessing that just a few simple changes in your lifestyle can improve your chances of living a longer, healthier life.  The beauty is, anyone can make these changes, the steps are not expensive and even modest improvements will make a big difference.  

The American Heart Association (AMA) calls them “The Simple 7″.  Seven things you can do to reduce your chances of dying of heart disease, stroke, or other cardiac related incident.  Take it slow – start with 1 or 2.  Even small changes in lifestyle can make a big difference.

7 Steps to a Long and Healthy Life

Get Active- The AMA suggests at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise – or a combination of both.  When you break it down, that is only about 22 minutes per day of moderate exercise.  The simplest solution is to start walking.  Join AMA’s Start Walking Program to develop your walking plan.  If you are mobility-challenged or just not the outdoorsy type, there are plenty of great ways to get your heart pumping at home. 

Browse Allegro’s Fitness category for hundreds of Exercise/Fitness Products to fit any level of fitness or ability.   Sorted into helpful sub-categories.  Get instruction from books, DVDs and videos to make your home workouts even more fun!

 

Control Cholesterol- Cholesterol is in your bloodstream and your cells.  It is soft and waxy.  Too much of the ‘bad’ cholesterol, the LDL, is a bad thing.  It clogs arteries and puts you at major risk for coronary disease.  75% of cholesterol is produced by the body and the rest comes from the foods you eat.  Many people inherit the genes that make too much cholesterol so you might not be able to control it without medication. 

The AMA says “It’s important for all people to know their cholesterol level.”  Cholesterol is measured in milligrams per deciliter of blood.  A cholesterol level of 200mg/dL or higher puts you in a high risk category and you need to take action. 

Monitor your cholesterol at home with the  CholesTrak – FDA approved Total Cholesterol Device.

Cholesterol can be controlled by prescribed medication, diet and/or lifestyle changes.  The AME recommends you schedule a screening, eat foods low in cholesterol and saturated fat, skip the trans fats, maintain a healthy weight and stay active.

See all Home Test Kits

 

Eat Better- If you haven’t heard it already, you must be living under a rock.  Stop with the fast food, trans-fat laden crap and get healthy.  Eat a diet of vegetables, fruits, unrefined whole-grains, fish (at least twice a week), lean meats, poultry (without skin), fat-free/low fat dairy.  Aim for less than 1500 mgs of salt per day and less than 300 mgs of cholesterol.  Stay away from foods with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.  If you do all this, you’ll be fine.

Maybe.

Even your best intentions may need a little supplemental help from time to time. See Allegro’s large selection of Vitamins and Herbal Supplements.  I take a multi-vitamin, glucosamine and an Omega-3 tablet every day.

See all Dietary Supplements

 

Manage Blood Pressure – The AMA says that high blood pressure is the single most significant risk factor for heart disease.  The scary thing is, you can’t feel high blood pressure.  That’s why they call it “the silent killer”.    Blood pressure is exactly that – the pressure of your blood on your veins.  If it gets too high, over time it will stretch your veins and cause microscopic tears.  When the body heals these tears it creates scar tissue which can form clots, blockages, blood clots and weakened arteries leading to stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and heart failure. 

Normal blood pressure is less than 120 mm Hg systolic AND less than 80 mm Hg diastolic.  High blood pressure (hypertension) is a reading of more than 140 over 80 (140/80).

Another scary fact about blood pressure:  One in three adults have it, yet 21% don’t even know it.  And of those with high blood pressure, 69% are receiving treatment, yet, only 45% have it controlled.   Having your blood pressure checked only once in a while is dangerous.  It took years to diagnose my high blood pressure because it was only tested periodically. 

Take your own blood pressure.  It’s easy! – I highly recommend the wrist models.

See all Blood Pressure Monitors

See all Diagnostic Products

If you have high blood pressure, please read I’m off my Blood Pressure Meds.   By the way, I am still monitoring my blood pressure at home and it remains normal without medication.  I still see my chiropractor about 3 times a month and check in with my physician every 4 months.

 

Lose Weight – Are you overweight/obese?  If your body mass index (BMI) is 25.0 kg/m2 or higher, then you are among the 145 million overweight or obese Americans.  Calculate your BMI by multiplying your weight in pounds by 703, then dividing that number by your height in inches and then dividing again by your height in inches.

Reduce your risk for heart disease by losing weight and keeping it off.   My approach to weight loss is summed up in How to Not Gain Weight in 65 Days or Less and The Secret to Making Resolutions Work.

See Weight Loss Products  Please be careful if you use synthetic weight loss supplements!  Consult your physician.  My body prefers all-natural foods and supplements.  See FucoTHIN.   For tried and true weight-loss advice, read Eating for Life by Bill Phillips.

Obesity is a major, independent risk factor for heart disease.  And if you have a lot of belly fat you’re at even higher risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.  Get rid of it.

 

 Reduce Blood Sugar – Diabetes is controllable and treatable, but even so, adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease or stroke than adults without diabetes.  

The AMA says that controlling glucose levels can slow the progression of long-term complications. Often, many small changes add up to surprising improvements in diabetes control, including less need for medication.

What is Diabetes?

 How to Tell if you have Diabetes

Diagnosed Diabetic?  See our Diabetes Care Medical Supplies

 

Stop Smoking – Smoking is the most preventable cause of premature death in the U.S.  It increases the risk of heart disease, decreases your tolerance or physical activity, increases the tendency for blood to clot.  It decreases HDL (good) cholesterol.  It creates a higher risk for peripheral artery disease and aortic aneurysms.  Ick.

Quiting cigarettes is hard, even for adolescents.  How do you do it?  Here’s a 5-Step Process to Stop Smoking.  Don’t feel bad if you slip.  It’s very common.  Just try again… and again… until it works.  Don’t give up.  Look to your local resources through hospitals and hotlines for help.

Education Center for Heart Smarts

Are you a rehab specialist or physical/personal trainer?  Learn more about cardiac health and rehab, see The ABCDE’S of Cardiac Rehabilitation, Yoga for Cardiac Rehab, Cardiovascular Disease and Women, Heathy Hearts, Healthy Women and Major Cardiac Risk Factor Screening.

See all Healthy Learning books, CDs and DVDs

Anyone can learn more about health, nutrition and fitness with the Health & Fitness in Plain English book.

How prevalent are heart problems? Read Staggering Heart Facts

Are you at Risk for Heart Disease? 

Did you know that heart attack and stroke symptoms for men and women may differ? Read Heart Attacke & Stroke Warning Signs.

We hope you will take this to heart and make the changes in your life that will see you through a long, healthy life.   Read more about the  The Simple 7 on the American Heart Association’s website.

And as always, we thank you for your business – from the bottom of our hearts. (sorry, had to).

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