February is a month that revolves around the heart. Millions of people celebrate Valentine’s Day with roses, jewelry, and romantic dinners with their special someone. But, aside from those things, February also is the time of year where we promote and bring attention to heart health.

Friday, February 5th, was National Wear Red Day. This day is one in which we wear red to raise awareness around heart disease in women. This disease is the number one cause of death for women in the U.S., killing almost 300,000 women in 2017. That’s 1 in every 5 female deaths. Symptoms can vary, but one should be wary if she is having chest pains, shortness of breath, with possible cold sweats or lightheadedness.

Heart disease can be caused by factors beyond your control, such as your age, gender, race and heredity. And, if you are someone that has previously had a stroke or heart attack, you can be at higher risk for heart disease. But, there are certain actions or precautions you can take to show that your heart health is a priority for you.

  1. Be aware of your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. High levels of either are detrimental to good heart health and can lead to heart disease and other ailments if not treated.
  2. Quit smoking. This isn’t something new. We have heard the warnings for decades. Smoking can lead to possible heart problems, decreased lung capacity and disease, cancer and a whole host of other issues. Do you and your wallet a favor and stop. It’s not easy, but there are resources out there to help rid you of the bad habit for good.
  3. Manage your diabetes with the consultation of your health provider. Diabetes can lead to dangerous levels in your blood sugar. Medications may be warranted to help maintain safe levels.
  4. Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity and being overweight puts you at major risk for cardiovascular disease.
  5. Be active. Physical activity is a key component to keeping your heart in good shape. If you have been inactive for a long period of time you may want to consider consulting your physician before starting a rigorous routine. However, there are easy ways to get your heart pumping such as taking a walk in your neighborhood, hiking on a local trail, even turning the music up and dancing in your living room.

Regular physical activity is hugely beneficial to your overall health, but especially your heart health. But, what if pain is keeping you from being active or even from doing normal, everyday activities? A physical therapist can conduct an assessment to help identify the source of pain. And, with the guidance of your physical therapist, the pain you feel can be reduced or eliminated completely, allowing you more mobility and the opportunity to be more active. Physical therapy can also help you build strength and increase flexibility which leads to less chance of injury in the future.

So, this February let’s all pledge to take our matters of the heart more seriously. This month isn’t just about our love for others, but also love of self. Look after your heart and if you need help with being active, make an appointment with your physical therapist to get back nMotion.

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