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Show your heart some love

February 18, 2014
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Show your heart some love edge photo by Kaitlyn Furge

The heart gets a lot of attention in February. With all the cards and flowers, it's easy to think of it as the abstract and emotional concept rather than the muscular organ that it is. If you're a woman, however, there's a solid reason to take your heart seriously. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer of women. It's more deadly than all types of cancer. While one in 31 women in America will die of breast cancer each year, one in three will die from heart disease, according to the American Heart Association. So what can women do to prevent the disease? The Center for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have both released tips on how to stop the disease. 

-- Don't smoke. Most people think that smoking puts them at risk for lung cancer. What they don't know is that smoking also puts your body at risk for heart disease. The American Heart Association states that smoking increases your risk of heart disease and stroke two to four times. They go on to explain that it damages your blood vessels, and makes your blood sticky, creating the perfect environment for blood clots. The bottom line: health officials say to quit, or never start. 

-- Get moving. Want to shave your risk for coronary heart disease down by up to 40 percent? The American Heart Association says that by exercising, you can do just that. Jog, dance, bike, swim or walk - just get active. Walking, in fact, could be a great place to start. For starters, it's free, and it has the lowest dropout rate of any exercise program the American Heart Association says. Mayo Clinic recommends an hour of exercise a day for most people. 

-- Eat healthy. You know, the usual fruits and veggies type of deal. Oh, and the American Heart Association also suggests fish, fiber and nuts in a healthy diet. Cutting back on sodium, sugar sweetened drinks and saturated fats can also help. 

-- Cope with stress. According to the American Heart Association, more research is needed to determine the link between stress and heart disease. They believe, however, that stress can trigger things like high blood pressure that can lead to heart disease. The office of Women's Health and Human Services suggests activities like exercising, talking to friends, or writing in a journal to manage stressful situations. 

Next time you think about February, remember these tips. You could live a longer and see more Februaries. That's more time to celebrate what you love.

Last modified on Tuesday, 18 February 2014 23:00

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