Van Horn, Texas (February 12, 2018) – Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women in the U.S., with the risk of heart disease increasing with age. However, according to the American Heart Association (AHA), the road to a healthier heart is just steps away.
“Eight steps, that is, beginning with a visit to your medical provider to get a full picture of your health including the seven risk factors for heart disease – blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood sugar, diet, weight, physical activity and tobacco use,” said Gilda Morales, DC, ANP-C, a provider at Van Horn Rural Health Clinic physician.
“Baseline and annual exams allow us to measure and monitor the seven key health factors and behaviors that have the biggest impact on your health,” noted Morales, “and develop an individualized plan to address any areas of concern.”
Actually taking more steps can be a simple way to positively impact your heart. Except for tobacco use, the number of premature deaths due to lack of physical activity is higher than almost all other chronic disease risk factors. In addition, increasing your physical activity can help you lower or maintain a healthy weight, and reduce your risk of diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
The AHA suggests that getting active 30 minutes a day – once a day or in smaller increments over the course of the day – will help to keep your heart healthy, lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, and improve your quality of life.
“Anyone can organize a bike or walking club,” encouraged Morales, “and planning fitness activities with family or friends will increase your ability to stay with the program.”
Also look for ways to “sneak” exercise into your daily routine. Parking further away when doing errands, and taking the stairs whenever you can will help you meet activity goals.
Morales cautions that exercise goals depend on your current physical fitness and will change as you age, and recommends checking with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
February is National Heart Month and a great time to start thinking about your heart health. For more information about your heart disease risk factors and what you can do to feel better and stay healthier, schedule an appointment with one of the providers at
Van Horn Rural Health Clinic: 432/283-1020