February is hearth month. Heart health is probably not something you think about every day, but it is really important, especially because South Asians in Canada have higher rates of heart disease than the rest of the population. There are many risk factors for heart disease and for stroke that are actually within your power to control.
To help our readers get ‘heart healthy’ we asked the pharmacy team at The Medicine Shoppe Fleetwood to share 5 Heart Healthy Tips that you can in corporate in your life to be more heart smart.
Heart Healthy Tips from The Medicine Shoppe Fleetwood
1. Develop better sleep habits.
Get at least 7 hours of sleep a day. A recent study showed that middle-aged individuals who got 7 to 8 hours of sleep had less calcium deposits in their arteries than other adults. As well, adults who reported good-quality sleep also had healthier arteries than those who did not sleep soundly.
2. Regular blood pressure checks.
Get your blood pressure checked regularly both at your doctor’s office and also at your pharmacy. The higher the blood pressure, the more strain on your heart and arteries. Ways to reduce blood pressure include reducing salt and alcohol intake and increasing your consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins.
3. Increase your exercise and activity level.
Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate level exercise 5 days a week. Also, keep track of how long you spend seated, whether at work, traveling or on your couch. Try to switch some of those seated, sedentary times with more active moments. 30 minutes of exercise and 23.5 hours of being seated is not good for your heart.
4. Determine if you have diabetes.
High blood sugars can damage your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease. If you are overweight, have family members with diabetes history or are over the age of 40, get quarterly blood sugar tests done. One easy way to take action is to reduce processed carbs like white rice for higher-fiber carbs like brown rice.
5. Stop or reduce smoking.
Whether they’re real cigarettes or electronic, smoking and second hand smoke are bad for your heart. If you need help quitting, your local pharmacy likely has a smoking cessation program that can help you kick the habit.
For more information about Heart Month and more Heart Healthy Tips, visit the Heart & Stroke Foundation. You can also visit the community pharmacists at The Medicine Shoppe Fleetwood, or the The Medicine Shoppe New Westminster to discuss any concerns you may have.