American Heart Month

Do you have hearts on the mind as Valentine’s Day approaches?
What about your own heart?
If you ever wonder why the doctor’s office inquires our family history, it’s important to ask those questions like what health conditions and diseases we may find within our family tree.  During American Heart Month, let’s take a closer look at our hearts.
According to the American Heart Association, having a blood relative with health conditions like heart disease can increase our own risk; however, making lifestyle choices can help decrease chances of having some health conditions. As a family, you can take preventative measures to ensure health habits become a lifelong goal.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S.  Monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol levels are good measures to take in preventing heart disease, whether it’s at a doctor’s office or at home.
The CDC also helps remind us to not become overwhelmed while taking steps towards health; don’t go the journey alone when changing our habits, don’t get discouraged, and reward ourselves.
Kids Health has great tips on how to “keep your heart happy.” Healthy habits such as being active every day can be as simple as jumping rope, dancing, or playing a game with friends. We have to remember that our heart is just as vital as any other muscle in our body.  A good diet includes paying attention to both healthy and unhealthy foods. Eating a variety of healthy foods, like the appropriate servings of fruits and vegetables, are just as important as avoiding unhealthy items like foods high in fats or sodium or drinks high in sugar. Learn to compare labels on processed foods and don’t be afraid to explore the produce aisle.
Another aspect of heart health is established at birth. About 40,000 infants are born with heart defects each year.  The CDC states that congenital heart defects are present at birth and affect how a baby’s heart is made and how it works.  Although the cause of most is unknown, actions during pregnancy may reduce the risk of having a baby with heart defects.
To help a child reach full function and highest level of independence, therapist at Pediatric Therapy Partners will help improve motor skills, muscular strength, and overall endurance following heart procedures.  Therapy can assist in healing and increase performance during play and activities of daily living.
If preventative tips and behaviors are learned at a young age, families can help their kids continue to take steps throughout childhood towards a heart healthy lifestyle.

American Heart Association: