Hearts are on the mind in February but rarely are they the hearts that should be.

Heart health – like many other health-related issues can be improved with a good nutritious diet and consistent exercise. In addition to improving your diet and exercise regimen here are a few other tips for lessening your risk of heart related diseases in the future:

Give yourself a starting point by assessing your current risk for heart related diseases. You can do this by accessing the American Heart Association’s Check. Change. Control. Calculator. You can find it here.  

Adjust your diet by eliminating processed foods, especially those with added sugars, refined carbohydrates, sodium and saturated and trans fats. You might find yourself feeling hungry and craving carbs and sugars but instead try to replace them with veggies, protein and whole grains.

Increase your physical activity. Whether you’re relatively active or live a sedentary lifestyle, increased activity will only have a positive outcome on your heart-related health risks.

Eliminate use of tobacco products. Tobacco cessation isn’t a simple thing, but it is necessary to avoid a variety of health risks and diseases. MVHS regularly offers smoking cessation classes at our St. Luke’s campus. Learn more by visiting the events section of website or our Facebook page!

According to John Hopkins Medicine a daily dosage of aspirin can help decrease the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart disease, diabetes and those with narrowing arteries. Before attempting this please consult with your primary care provider (PCP).

Pay close attention to your risk of diabetes. Diabetes, if left untreated can lead to heart disease, stroke and more, and where diet and exercise play a big role in reducing your risk for diabetes they do the same for heart disease and stroke!

Improve your dental hygiene and oral health. Although not confirmed there is a trending link between gum disease and heart disease. While maintaining good oral health is important for other reasons this link is yet another reason to increase your flossing and visit your dentist more frequently.

 Join a fitness focused event like the American Heart Association’s Heart Run-Walk. MVHS puts together a team each year to run or walk together and raise money for the American Heart Association. Join us or consider donating to our team to help us reach our goal. We participate in America’s Greatest Heart Run and Walk in Utica, NY which kicks off on Champlin Avenue right near our St. Luke’s Campus and continues down Burrstone Road past several of our office locations. We’d love for you to join us in March!