While February may be best known for Valentine’s Day, it’s also American Heart Month. This is a period geared towards spreading awareness of cardiovascular disease, and encouraging your family and friends to be proactive in monitoring their heart health. One of the best ways to do that is getting a heart health screening.
There are many screenings available – Fasting Lipoprotein Profile (cholesterol), Body Weight, Blood Glucose, Smoking/Physical Activity/Diet – but chief among them may be the blood pressure screening. According to the American Heart Association, this is one of the most important screenings because there are typically no symptoms for high blood pressure (HBP). If you have HBP you are at a much higher risk of:
- Heart failure
- Heart attack
- Chronic kidney disease
It’s important to check your blood pressure regularly, especially if it’s outside the range of 120/80 mm Hg. If so, it’s recommended you get this screening at least every two years. While your blood pressure levels may be affected by short-term factors such as emotion, stress, pain, and caffeine use, there are many other risk factors that can contribute to the rise of HBP:
- Family History
- Tobacco Use
- Low levels of Potassium/Vitamin D
While there may be many risk factors, the CDC believes there are many things you can do to take control of your blood pressure, and most importantly, developing healthy habits.
- Healthy Diet – A balanced diet, individualized for your health needs, can be crafted by your R-Health doctor.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight – Additionally, your R-Health doctor can work with you to determine a healthy weight range.
- Physical Activity – Physical activities not only help maintain healthy weight, but keep your heart active and healthy.
- Do Not Smoke
- Limited Alcohol Use
Though there are healthy habits to follow, and risks factors that may increase chances, the best first step is to get a blood pressure screening. With no true signs or symptoms, this screening is a vital step in preventing cardiovascular disease and a first step towards making lifestyle changes. In addition, your R-Health physician can help you decide upon individual lifestyle adjustments to keep your heart and your body healthy and happy.