It's American Heart Month. While some people might see that as just another health awareness piece, it's worth noting that your heart isn't just another organ; it's your body's most vital organ.
So this February, do something about it! Schedule that annual health exam you've been putting off.; find out how healthy your heart is, and if you're like millions of other Americans with risk factors, take steps to improve your heart health.
You might start by going to tonight's presentation by Portage Health Registered Dietician Rachel Doherty (6 p.m. at the Magnusson Franklin Square Inn), or you might include other basic steps you can take on your own.
The most important thing to remember is that your heart health requires attention; it requires you to reduce modifiable risk factors.
As Doherty will explain, your diet has a lot to do with it.
Eating fresh fruits and vegetables will do wonders for your heart, as well as the rest of your body. But it goes beyond that, you need to exercise, keep your blood pleasure at an appropriate number, keep your cholesterol in check, don't smoke and work to maintain a healthy weight. Each of these is considered a dangerous risk factor, and all of them are modifiable.
You can also speak to your doctor. Perhaps the best step is to come see the Cardiopulmonary Department at Portage Health, where our specially trained staff will guide you through a program that lowers those risks.
One key thing to remember is that it's a lot easier on your body if you work to lower those risk factors before problems arise.
Heart problems are often not forgiving. In fact, heart problems are considered the No. 1 killer of Americans.
Research shows that cardiac rehabilitation can maximize your physical, psychological and social wellness. For those battling heart disease or other chronic issues associated with the heart, cardiac rehabilitation reduces the risk of a future fatal heart attack.
Our rehab program is designed to help people recover faster, and achieve and maintain a high quality of life.
Showing due diligence to your healthy heart includes all ages, and can be key to you living a longer, healthier life.
Remember, this February, take life into your own hands and improve your heart health.
Editor's note: Joan Rundman is cardiac pulmonary coordinator at Portage Health.