February is Heart Health Month! Spreading awareness is important because heart disease is the number one cause of death in both men and women – however, it is one of the most preventable types of diseases! The risk factors for heart disease are mostly all factors that we are able to control — poor diet, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, family history (which we can’t change… but we can change everything else!).
As a medical student, I can vouch to say that sometimes my diet is not always as good as it should be. I consume a lot of ‘comfort food’ and caffeine because I don’t always have time to eat or cook healthy foods. One way that I try to better my diet is by meal-prepping. Making a huge meal on Sundays and dividing it up into smaller portions is a GREAT way to make use of free time as well as having access to healthy, quick meals.
Did you know that smoking alone causes 1 out of every 5 deaths in the US? Cigarettes contain thousands of chemicals, many of them known to cause various types of cancer. Smoking cessation is not only beneficial for your heart health, but for your overall health and well-being.
Preventing high blood pressure is just as easy as preventing heart disease. Maintaining a healthy diet, regularly exercising, smoking cessation… Keep in mind these factors in order to create a better lifestyle for yourself. As far as diabetes, be sure to limit your intake of sweets and sugary products, and stay away from processed foods and products.
See how easy it is to reduce your risk for the number one cause of death? Be sure to spread this information to your friends and family so they can reduce their risk as well! Learn more about how you can improve your heart health here! I also wrote a little bit about Heart Health Month on the MERCK Manuals – Med Student Stories site — check it out!