Seven tips to keep you feeling heart healthy
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., and having high blood pressure (also called hypertension) has been shown to increase the risk for heart disease and stroke.
Fortunately, up to 80 percent of heart disease is preventable, and there are many things you can do to reduce your risk.
The American Heart Association, along with many other groups around the country, recognizes February as American Heart Month. In support, the university offers programs and resources that can help reduce your risk of hypertension and heart disease.
- Raise your awareness: Think you know the truth about hypertension and heart disease? Test your knowledge by taking the Heart Health I.Q. Challenge. Complete the challenge by Feb. 29 and enter to win one of five $10 Amazon gift cards.
- Get moving: Experts recommend being physically active most days of the week. Move more by joining a U-M fitness center or taking an MHealthy exercise class.
- Manage your weight: Overweight and obesity are linked to high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes, which can raise your risk of heart disease and heart attack. Ready To Lose, MHealthy’s free weight management program, offers coaching, personal support and weekly educational videos. The university also offers online programs through StayWell and special pricing for WW (formerly Weight Watchers).
- Eat smarter: Adopting a nutritious diet and watching your sodium intake are important for managing your blood pressure. MHealthy offers monthly cooking classes and has more than 300 delicious and easy recipes that are MHealthy-approved!
- Manage stress: It’s no surprise that stress can trigger high blood pressure, heart attack and other cardiovascular risks. No-cost counseling services are available to staff, faculty, retirees and adult dependents. And U-M health plans cover mental and behavioral health services like counseling, therapy and substance abuse treatment.
- Quit tobacco: No matter how long you’ve used tobacco, quitting will reduce your risk. The MHealthy Tobacco Consultation Service offers free, one-on-one counseling and eligible U-M drug plan members can get prescription and over-the-counter smoking cessation medications with no copay.
- Limit alcohol consumption: Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure. The MHealthy Alcohol Management Program offers no cost, confidential health education to help you cut back on your drinking or quit altogether — you decide which is the right approach for you.