In recent years, the CDC has reported that heart disease has been the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. This statistic is frightening and taking the time to focus on heart health can be a good exercise for everyone in your family.
In honor of American Heart Month, Golden Triangle Emergency Center wants to help all of our local families learn how to talk about heart health. What steps should you take to have a healthier heart? How do you talk to your parents or kids about your concerns? The best way to fight heart disease is through healthy life changes, and it is much easier to achieve that change when you’re tackling it as a team. So, this February, let’s take a look at your family’s health habits and find new room for strengthening your hearts.
Keeping a Healthy Heart
Aside from certain genetic conditions and deformities that someone might be born with, having a healthy heart is something that is within our control. It comes down to making choices that will strengthen your heart, as well as avoiding risky choices that might damage it. Here are some of the best tips for heart health:
- Exercise regularly: whether you’re going on long walks or hitting a hard spin class, doing some kind of cardo exercise a few times a week will work your heart’s muscles in all the right ways. When your heart is stronger physically, it will become better at pumping blood and keeping you energized. A strong heart can also lower risks of certain heart conditions later in life.
- Eat well: with busy days at work and running the kids around to after school activities, it can be hard to find time for healthy meals. But maintaining a good diet can go a long way to keeping your whole family in good health. Try to minimize overly fatty or fried foods, while eating more fruits and vegetables. If your family struggles to find the time to prepare these meals, then try creating a weekly meal-planning schedule. Pre-cook meals on the weekends and store throughout the week for quick throw-together meals that will be tasty and promote a strong heart.
- Don’t smoke: for years now, it has been widely known that smoking can be bad for not only your lungs, but your heart. The strain that smoke causes (be it from cigarettes, cigars, or other smoking methods), can weaken your heart. Avoiding smoke and second-hand smoke is important to keeping you and your family as heart-healthy as possible.
- Limit drinking: another substance that can weaken your body is alcohol. While many out there enjoy a glass of wine with dinner or a beer on game-day, it is important to monitor and limit how much alcohol you drink. Certain kinds of alcohol, like red wine, have antioxidants in them which can be good for the heart. But the actual alcohol content in each drink is what can damage your body, heart included. So, making sure you drink in moderation is important to the longevity of your heart.
These four strategies for heart health can start at any age. For parents with young children, beginning these good habits early can go a long way to helping your children’s health. Try looking at your family’s routines and see where you can fit in some long walks or salads with dinner. Getting your kids engaged and excited about family health is a great way to give them a leg up in life.
Talking About Heart Health
Some parents find it difficult to talk to their kids about health and medical information. It’s one thing to remind your kids to eat their vegetables, or they can’t have dessert, but it’s another thing entirely to explain to them why they need to exercise or avoid heart-risks. Discussions like these can get even more difficult if family members get sick. For example, if a grandparent has a heart attack and your family is all planning to make dietary changes to help in their recovery, how do you talk to your kids about this without scaring them?
Open communication is important in all families, and for heart health that is no different. If your family is making changes to your diet or exercise routines, then you’ll want to talk to your kids and properly explain why. For very young kids, you can keep your explanations short and easy, telling them that it is to stay healthy and grow strong. But for older kids, who can understand more, you’ll want to treat them with respect and explain to them your concerns for the whole family’s health. This is especially true if someone in your family has suffered a heart condition, or if you have risk factors for heart conditions in your family.
Ultimately, it is important to make sure your children know why certain choices are better or worse for their heart. Giving them that education early on will make them better equipped to take care of themselves throughout their lives. If you struggle to get your kids on board with heart-healthy changes, then try giving them choices in how to make these changes. You can provide options for family exercises or meal planning that will make them involved in the process. This inclusion and responsibility can make them feel more engaged with their health and feel more in control of the changes taking place in the family.
February might be American Heart Month, but your family’s heart health should be a priority all year round. Following these tips and finding new ways to integrate heart health into your daily routine can go a long way to ensuring that your whole family has a long and happy life. Grandparents, parents, and children alike can all benefit from heart health.
In the event of any health emergencies, heart-related emergencies included, Golden Triangle Emergency Center is here for you. Our concierge-level care for all ages is available 24/7 for local patients, and our doctors are ready to serve. When your family needs it most, we offer only the very best.
Nutex Health, Inc supports you and your family’s health. You can depend on Golden Triangle Emergency Center or any one of our concierge-level, freestanding emergency facilities to deliver the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.