Protecting Your Heart

If you’re here expecting to read a post about how to handle relationships, then you’re in the right place, but not quite for the reason you think. Today we’re talking about maintaining a healthy relationship between you and your body, specifically your heart, and we’re bringing in an expert to help.

If you’re a healthy person living in Cleveland, it is easy to take some of our tremendous healthcare resources for granted, but did you know that Cleveland Clinic has been voted #1 in heart care by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1995? Did you also know that 1 in 3 women dies of heart disease? So we decided we wanted to interview a female expert from the #1 heart hospital to talk to us about the 3 steps that women can take immediately to lower their list of heart disease.

Photo credit: Cleveland Clinic

Photo credit: Cleveland Clinic

We are so fortunate that Dr. Stacey Jolly, MD from the Cleveland Clinic was willing to participate in this post. Dr. Jolly is an academic General Internal Medicine physician, and as a primary care physician frequently counsels women about heart disease and lowering their risk of heart disease. She recommends the following Top 3 lifestyle changes that a women can make to immediately lower her risk of heart disease. Below is her very direct advice, in her own words:

  1. No smoking. Don’t start smoking, don’t restart smoking if you have quit, and stop smoking if you haven’t quit yet. Work with your physician or other caregivers to get the help you need. Call toll free quit lines every state has them. It may take a few tries to stop smoking. However, don’t give up, smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease. Stop smoking.
  2. Get active. Our sedentary lifestyle is harmful to our heart. I like the American Heart Association recommendations “To improve overall cardiovascular health, we suggest at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity). Thirty minutes a day, five times a week is an easy goal to remember. You will also experience benefits even if you divide your time into two or three segments of 10 to 15 minutes per day.” Especially about the dividing up activity during the day to fit your busy schedule.
  3. Eat healthy. DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is a well known healthy eating lifestyle plan that has been shown in women to reduce the development of high blood pressure or hypertension. It also a beneficial dietary lifestyle change to help control your high blood pressure along with your prescribed anti-high blood pressure medications. Hypertension is a major risk factor for heart disease.

Although this advice is largely practical, we like Dr. Jolly’s very specific recommendations. If you’re in Ohio and want to quit smoking (you really should), you can find help here.

The American Heart Association has long been a champion of heart health, and in celebration of February being Hearth Month, here are a few ways you can participate in building awareness for women’s heart health:

  1. Wear something red on February 3rd for National Wear Red Day and post it on social media with #ClevelandGoesRed
  2. Attend the Go Red For Women Luncheon and Expo on February 10th
  3. Cook something heart healthy and post it on social media with #ClevelandGoesRed

We hope you will take this post as a call to action to get serious about protecting your heart. After all, you only have one.

Disclosure: This post is created in partnership with the American Heart Association. We want to thank Dr. Stacey Jolly from the Cleveland Clinic for her participation in this post. All opinions expressed are 100% those of the author. Thank you for your continued support of this blog so we can continue to partner with local organizations on causes that are meaningful to the women of Northeast Ohio and beyond.

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Shibani Faehnle

Shibani is a banker by day, and an entrepreneur, lifestyle blogger, spin instructor, wife, and mom to three rescue pups by night. She started her online jewelry boutique in 2015. She has a weakness for ice cream, loud pop music, 90s hip hop, and texting in ALL CAPS. She secretly wants Andy Cohen and Bravo to hire her to be on Real Housewives of Cleveland.

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