Ahh, February. It’s almost time for pink and red decorations, gifts from sweethearts, and sugary snacks—everywhere. Don’t forget, it’s American Heart Month, too!
Did you know that more deadly heart attacks happen during the winter and holiday season? How about the fact from the CDC that 1 in 5 people having a heart attack don’t even know they’re having one?
The American Heart Association reported that December 25th has the highest number of heart attacks compared to any other day during the calendar year. The second-highest day is December 26, followed by the third-highest on the first of January.
What do all these days have in common? Holidays can throw people off their routines. There may be travel, nights spent sleeping poorly on bony hide-a-beds, more visiting into the late-night hours followed by the early morning coffee chatter that throws people off their routines.
As a result of all the socializing and fun, folks may skip more medications, move less, eat more, and may also use more alcohol or too much caffeine. They’re also probably forgetting their recommended eight glasses of water to flush out the holiday fun.
All of these factors compounded may contribute to the uptick in heart attacks around these days of the year. The good news is that all those dates are behind us, and if you’re enjoying this blog, you can share some of this helpful information with your loved ones!
Do you know what the symptoms of a heart attack are? Many folks don’t know that they’re even having a heart attack!
- Chest Pain
- Pain in the shoulders, arms, neck, back, jaw/teeth, or upper abdominal area
- Shortness of breath
- Follow a heart-healthy diet
- See your healthcare provider to know your numbers and your risks
- Set reminders for your medications & take them as prescribed
- Stay social
- Work on stress reduction
Regular & Routine Medical Care
Maintain your health through regular visits to your primary care physician. They can recommend specialty care and services if you are at risk of a heart attack based on personal and family history. Primary care providers can also help you manage long-term conditions such as diabetes, which can increase your risk for a heart attack.
Regular cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood glucose checks help your doctor understand your risks so they can advise you on the next steps. Make sure to attend your checkups, ask questions, and take notes. Bring someone with you to help you remember important details if you find it helpful.
Self-Care & Diet
In the land of hard work, slowing down can feel impossible. It can even look selfish to some, causing guilt if we take a moment. But to be healthy, we need prep time to schedule workouts, shop and prepare healthy foods, and relax.
Unchecked stress can contribute to your risk of a heart attack. Missing sleep, quick and ready-to-eat sodium-laden prepackaged foods, and not getting enough movement can take a toll. Make time to prepare and eat healthy meals.
You don’t have to do it alone, though. If you’re struggling to adjust your diet, your doctor may recommend the help of a registered dietician to advise you on making the right changes.
Friends & Loved Ones
The CDC tells us that meaningful relationships can help improve your health and reduce heart attack or stroke risks. Having people to support you is vital to helping you through life’s setbacks.
Age can significantly impact our connections with others. Perhaps we lose loved ones from their passing or don’t leave home as much to see the people we enjoy for a number of reasons. It’s helpful to identify our social needs to reduce the barriers to avoid becoming isolated.
Consider how senior living could alleviate your concerns if you or a loved one is navigating the aging process and could use an easy button. From socializing to on-site healthcare oversight to daily exercise and engaging activities, senior living could help you hit all the notes for a healthy and happy heart! Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.