Heart disease is the leading cause of death among Americans, causing one in four deaths. It doesn’t discriminate either, affecting both men and women.

During American Heart Month this February, our team at AFC Urgent Care Knoxville wants to share some tips on taking better care of your heart health!

Why Is Heart Health Important?

Your heart is responsible for pumping oxygenated blood to the rest of the organs in your body. If it isn’t working at its best, the function of the rest of your body can be negatively impacted.

Fortunately, you can take steps to protect and strengthen your heart. Practicing healthy lifestyle habits is a good place to begin.

Ways to Strengthen Your Heart

  • Get moving more often, aiming for 30 minutes of exercise most days.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Lose weight, if necessary, or maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat heart-healthy foods, such as fatty fish and olive oil.
  • Get plenty of quality sleep, aiming for seven to nine hours each night.
  • Find ways to manage stress effectively.

How Can Stress Affect Your Heart Health?

Stress can affect your heart in a number of different ways. For instance, when you are stressed, you are more likely to skip a workout, smoke a cigarette and eat more processed food, which can all put you at a higher risk of heart disease.

But beyond that, when your body is under stress, you also face physical issues. Stress causes adrenaline to release, which can speed up your heart rate and increase your blood pressure.

Ways to Manage Stress

  • Keep a positive attitude.
  • Accept the things you cannot control.
  • Be assertive instead of aggressive.
  • Try meditation or yoga for stress management.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals.

Wondering where your heart health stands? Visit AFC Urgent Care Knoxville today for a checkup and blood work—no appointment is needed.