As we celebrate love this month, CenCal Health encourages everyone in the community to listen to their hearts and make their health a priority. To raise awareness about heart disease and the impact it has on so many families in the United States, CenCal Health is participating in American Heart Month, sharing Heart Health tips with the entire community.
CenCal Health also participated in the American Heart Association’s 22nd annual Santa Barbara Go Red For Women Luncheon and Health Expo held at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara. Each year, the Go Red For Women campaign aims to encourage both women and men to learn about heart disease and what they can do to lower their risk factors.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the nation – and in both Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 610,000 people die of heart disease in the U.S. each year, accounting for one in every four deaths. CDC lists coronary heart disease as the most common heart disease, which takes the lives of more than 370,000 people every year. Annually, more than 730,000 Americans experience a heart attack.
Although these statistics may seem daunting, there is good news. You can make simple, healthy lifestyle changes to lower your risk of heart attack, congestive heart failure, hypertension and other types of heart disease.
Here are some tips you can follow:
- Eat a heart healthy diet by incorporating more fruit, vegetables and whole grains in your diet. Limit your intake when it comes to fatty foods and added sugars. Also, be sure to limit your alcohol consumption. If you have been told you have high blood pressure, avoid processed meats, salty foods, or adding extra table salt to your food.
- Strengthen your heart and improve your physique by exercising regularly, ideally 30 minutes on most days each week.
- Learn to reduce stress. Positive habits like exercise, a healthy diet and relaxation techniques can help improve overall health and reduce behaviors that may contribute to heart disease.
- Don’t smoke. If you are a smoker, there is help and support to help you quit.
- The American Heart Association also recommends proper sleep as a key to better health overall. Experts recommend at least seven hours of sleep each night.
“Access to health education goes hand in hand with access to high quality medical services for our community, and we have a lot to share,” said Bob Freeman, CEO of CenCal Health. “If we all follow these steps, especially those of us at risk, and become more conscious of our heart health, we can help lower the number of lives taken by heart disease each year.”
More tips and resources for heart health and other in-demand health topics are available at CenCal Health’s online Health & Wellness section (https://www.cencalhealth.org/health-and-wellness/heart-health/).
About CenCal Health
CenCal Health provides health insurance to the largest number of people on the Central Coast, providing health coverage for approximately 20 percent of residents in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. CenCal Health coverage is accepted by the vast majority of local health providers. CenCal Health also provides education and assistance to its members in order to reduce potential health problems from chronic illness such as diabetes and asthma. For more information, visit www.cencalhealth.org. Find CenCal Health on Facebook.