Did you know that February is American Heart Month? Therefore, there’s no better time to educate and raise awareness on the exceptional importance of our heart health. Of course, a healthy heart plays a significant role in our general wellness.
And in the United States, this couldn’t be a more important message. Unfortunately, heart disease is the leading cause of death in this country. It’s even more astonishing since heart disease is easily preventable with a heart-healthy lifestyle. In this post, we’ll explore the role that physical therapy can play in cultivating a cardio-conscious lifestyle.
Heart Disease: The Biggest Risk to a Healthy Heart
Heart disease actually encompasses several different types of conditions. This includes arrhythmia, atherosclerosis, cardiomyopathy, congenital heart defects, coronary artery disease (CAD) and various heart infections.
There are many different risk factors leading to heart disease. The CDC estimates that around 47 percent of Americans have at least one risk factor for heart disease. It’s important to learn which ones are within your control, as well as those that are not.
Heart Disease Contributors You Can Control
- Physical inactivity
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
Heart Disease Contributors You Can’t Control
Family history: Heart disease can run in a family. Your heart disease risk increases if a close family member has heart disease. Therefore, it’s important to know your family’s medical history.
Ethnicity: A 2010 study found that African-American men and women in the U.S. were 30 percent more likely to die of heart disease than non-Hispanic white men and women.
Age and Gender: Because plaque builds up over time, your risk of heart disease increases as you age. A 2016 study found that white men between the ages of 35 and 44 are about six times more likely to die of heart disease than white women in that same age group. The difference is less among people who aren’t white. Additionally, after menopause, a woman’s risk of death from CAD is equal to or greater than the same risk for a man by age 75.
It may be concerning to read about factors that are out of your control. However, it’s important to be educated. If you’re in a higher risk category or have a family history of heart disease, it’s all the more critical to be proactive about monitoring your heart health and making sure you are doing all that’s within your power to prevent heart disease.
The Importance of Resolving Chronic Pain
Did you know that people with chronic pain may be more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those without chronic pain? Researchers believe that the link is in pain triggering myriad factors related to poor heart health, such as stress, lack of exercise, poor sleep and depression.
According to the CDC, over 20 percent of adults in the United States have experienced recent chronic pain. Physical therapy has been proven to help manage and, in some cases, completely resolve chronic pain.
Stay Active for a Healthy Heart
Right now, millions of Americans are still working from home due to COVID-19. Therefore, our population is more sedentary than perhaps ever before. It is critical to stay active to support your heart health, even in cold weather.
Keeping your body moving consistently throughout each day, if only for a few minutes, makes a difference in your health.
Exercise & Take Control of Your Heart Health
In addition to short bursts of activity throughout your day, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity.
Aerobic exercise, more popularly known as “cardio,” increases your heart rate and improves your cardiorespiratory fitness. It’s a good idea to include both moderate- and vigorous-intensity activities in your routine, along with strength training and stretching exercises.
Physical Therapy Can Help Improve the Health of Your Heart
Whether it be through daily activity modification or full-on vigorous aerobic exercise, movement of varied types will significantly help to improve heart health. But, what if you’ve been leading a sedentary lifestyle for a while? Or, perhaps, you’re fearful of an old hip or knee injury flaring up?
It might be overwhelming to start thinking about incorporating consistent movement back in your life. The good news is, you don’t have to begin your journey alone.
Physical therapists are movement experts with the knowledge and skill to create a personalized plan for your ability level and fitness goals. Having the guidance of a physical therapy care team ensures that you will be monitored for safety, and can complete your therapy in a safe, friendly and encouraging environment.
Conclusion – Lake Shore Physical Therapy
At Lake Shore Physical Therapy, we can develop intricate treatment regimens specifically for you. If better heart health is your goal, our professionals can absolutely get you there. Contact us today to schedule your initial one-on-one consultation with a therapist and begin your journey to healing today.