February is a great time of the year to take a look at heart health. For starters, it’s American Heart Month, which means a lot of health-focused organizations are putting out some great information to help educate and inform us all about our ticker that keeps us alive and functioning.
One of the things we can all do is to talk with our healthcare providers about our risk for heart disease and what to do about it. If you are at increased risk or already have a heart problem, there are things that you can do. Below are questions to ask your provider to learn more about your risk, courtesy of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), which also has a great website with information on managing stress, aiming for a healthy weight, heart-healthy eating, and more. Click on the links to learn more about each topic area.
- What is my risk for heart disease?
- What is my blood pressure?
- What are my cholesterol numbers? (These include total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides.) Make sure your doctor has checked a fasting blood sample to determine your cholesterol levels.
- Do I need to lose weight for my health?
- What is my blood sugar level, and does it mean that I’m at risk for diabetes?
- What other screening tests do I need to tell me if I’m at risk for heart disease and how to lower my risk?
- What can you do to help me quit smoking?
- How much physical activity do I need to help protect my heart?
- What’s a heart-healthy eating plan for me?
- How can I tell if I’m having a heart attack? If I think I’m having one, what should I do?
If you are female, did you know that 1 in 5 women in the United States will die from heart disease? Learn more about the Heart Truth initiative of the NHLBI.
One of the best things we can do for those we love – during February, the “love” month or any time of the year – is to take care of our health. Consider talking to your healthcare provider soon about your risk for heart disease and what you can do to live a healthier lifestyle.