HealthTap can help you improve your heart health

Written by:
Dr. Geoffrey W. Rutledge
Chief Medical Officer and Co-founder
Reviewed by:
Angela DiLaura, NP
Clinical Informatics and Quality Manager
Last updated on January 30, 2023 UTC

February is American Heart Health Month

February is American Heart Health Month — a time to raise awareness about heart disease and what we can do to prevent it. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, but there are several ways to take steps to prevent it from developing.

One of the most important things you can do to prevent heart disease is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating a diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins, and low in saturated and trans fats, cholesterol and added sugars. It is also essential to maintain a healthy weight, as being overweight or obese increases the risk of heart disease.

Exercise is another component of a heart-healthy lifestyle. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week and strength training should be done at least twice a week. Regular physical activity can help lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do to protect your heart. If you smoke, quitting smoking is the single most important step you can take to reduce your risk of heart disease. Nicotine replacement therapy, prescription medications, and other smoking cessation methods can help you quit smoking and lower your risk of heart disease.

Managing stress and getting enough sleep are also vital for maintaining a healthy heart. Chronic stress can increase blood pressure and heart rate, which can put a strain on the heart and increase the risk of heart disease. To reduce stress, try practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation, or engaging in activities that you find enjoyable. Getting enough sleep is also important, as lack of sleep can increase the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.

Another step you can take to prevent heart disease is to have regular check-ups with your primary healthcare provider. This will allow them to monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels, and to make recommendations for lifestyle changes or medications if needed. It is also important to be aware of your family history of heart disease and to discuss this with your healthcare provider.

Heart disease is a serious condition that can have a significant impact on your health. However, by making lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, managing stress, and getting enough sleep, you can reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Additionally, regular check-ups with your healthcare provider can help to identify potential risks early on and to take steps to prevent the development of heart disease.

Taking care of your heart is important not just in February, but all year round. You can start improving your heart health today. HealthTap’s virtual primary care clinic is easy to access from the comfort of your home. Discover a doctor you love and get the care you need long-term. Book a video visit today


More articles in Online Doctor

Not just a doctor —
your doctor