When was the last time you thought about your heart health? It’s far more important than you may realize, with heart disease remaining the No. 1 overall cause of death for Americans and the No. 2 cause of death for Coloradans. In Douglas County, one of the healthiest counties in the nation, rates of heart disease have been steadily rising since 2012.
As part of American Heart Month this February, your Douglas County Health Department wants to give you some tips to improve your heart health to live a long, happy life.
Many aspects of our lifestyles contribute to risk of heart disease, including diet, physical activity, sleep, stress management, and tobacco use. Small adjustments can lead to big benefits.
This month, take one or a few of the following steps to reduce your risk of heart disease:
- Add a fruit or vegetable to every meal.
- Replace high-calorie beverages with water.
- Park farther away from your destination, take the stairs or add a short walk to your lunch break.
- Snack on a small handful of heart-healthy nuts instead of cookies, chips, or other less healthy snacks.
- Ask a friend to meet you for a walk, bike ride, or swim.
- Have your cholesterol and blood pressure checked, and discuss the results with your doctor.
- Get help to stop smoking. Visit the Colorado QuitLine for local resources.
- Stick to a bedtime that allows you to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
- Pause and take slow calming breaths or listen to music when you feel stressed or overwhelmed.
Preventing heart disease is important to the residents of Douglas County. The Public Health Improvement Plan (PHIP) and the Community Health Assessment identified chronic disease prevention, including heart disease, as a priority for the Douglas County Health Department.
Visit the Douglas County Health Department webpage for more resources.