January 29, 2016

Heart Health Comes From Life’s Simple 7

By Guest Blogger Madelyn Alexander, communications director, American Heart Association, St. Louis

The American Heart Association wants to help everyone live longer, healthier lives so they can enjoy all of life’s precious moments. And we know that starts with taking care of your health.

American Heart Month, a federally designated event, is a great way to remind Americans to focus on their hearts and encourage them to get their families, friends and communities involved. Together, we can build a culture of health where making the healthy choice is the easy choice. More than one in three adults has some form of cardiovascular disease. The good news is 80 percent of heart disease and stroke can be prevented.

So How Do You Protect Yourself?                   

Protect yourself from heart disease, the nation’s No. 1 killer, with Life’s Simple 7® — easy-to-embrace ways to significantly lower your risk of heart disease and improve your health. How simple is it?

Just take a look:

  1. Get active. We recommend least 75 minutes of vigorous exercise throughout the week. Along with gaining strength and stamina, exercising regularly can lower blood pressure, keep body weight under control and helps regulates blood sugar by improving how the body uses insulin.
  2. Control cholesterol. Keeping your cholesterol levels healthy is a great way to keep your heart healthy—and lower your chances of getting heart disease or having a stroke. But first, you have to know your cholesterol numbers.
  3. Eat better. Eating the right foods can help you control your weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol. Follow a dietary pattern that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other healthy choices.
  4. Manage blood pressure. One in three Americans has high blood pressure—yet one out of every five doesn’t even know they have it. Keeping your blood pressure in a healthy range starts with eating a heart-healthy diet. Other important factors are exercising regularly; not smoking; maintaining a healthy weight; limiting salt and alcohol; and taking medication prescribed by your doctor.
  5. Lose weight. Extra weight can do serious damage to your heart. Too much fat, especially around the belly, increases your risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
  6. Reduce blood sugar. Diabetes can quadruple your risk of heart disease or stroke, so keeping blood sugar levels under control is crucial to preventing medical problems involving the heart and kidneys.
  7. Stop smoking. It’s time to kick the habit. Going smoke-free can help prevent not only heart disease and stroke, but also cancer and chronic lung disease.

Take small steps toward a healthier life by getting your free heart score and custom plan today at


Editor’s note: Allsup is pleased to sponsor the 2016 Metro East Illinois Heart Walk in April. Get more information at www.metroeastillinoisheartwalk.org. Connect with the American Heart Association online: Facebook – American Heart Association STL, Twitter @AmerHeartSTL, #HeartWalkSTL.

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