February is American Heart Month and a great time to learn more about your risk for heart disease!
How healthy is your heart?
Cardiovascular disease kills more than 2,000 people every day, but you can add years to your life by identifying the major indicators of a poor functioning heart and take action.
There are six key factors to determining your heart health. LDL cholesterol, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, triglycerides, blood pressure and fasting glucose numbers all play a factor with your heart’s function.
If there are red flags in two of the factors above, your risk for heart disease increases by more than 60 percent.
The best way to monitor your heart and its strength is by checking your heart rate. There are many fitness trackers and smart watches that read your heart rate, but you can also check it the old-fashioned way.
Take two fingers and rest them on the inside of your wrist, feeling for the vein and pulse. Watch the second hand of your watch and count the number of beats for 20 seconds, then multiply by three to get your rate.
The normal resting heart rate for adults is between 60 and 100 beats per minute.
You can also monitor your heart health by monitoring your blood pressure. Most pharmacies have an automated machine that can read tour pressure, or check the numbers at your next physical.
It is also recommended to have your cholesterol checked at least once every five years unless you have other major factors. Blood work can also determine your glucose levels after eight hours of fasting.
Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your heart and overall health.
The American Heart Association also recommends excising for 30 minutes, five days a week. Take the stairs and park farther away to squeeze in extra activity throughout the day.
Heritage Woods of Minooka, an Assisted Lifestyle Community for the Older Adult, 701 Heritage Woods Drive, Minooka, IL, 60447, 815-467-2837, www.gardant.com/heritagewoodsminooka