What are Your Heart Health Goals?
We are starting a new month and January is behind us. How did you do with your health goals last month? Did you map out your needed appointments to cover all of your preventative screening tests for the year?
Doing this now gives you direction and also allows you to save any money needed to cover any deductibles or co-insurance. If you don’t have insurance you have time to find available resources in your community through your local community health centers or health departments.
You may be asking what screenings do you need? The United States Preventative Services Task Force has a list of screenings that you should discuss with your clinician every year to see what actions you need to take to improve your health.
February is the month where we celebrate Heart Health. There are basic things that you need to know in order to focus your attention on this aspect of your health. You cannot change some of the risk factors that put you at risk for heart disease such as age, race and gender but you can work on the ‘modifiable’ risk factors.
Modifiable risk factors
- I am a smoker.
- I don’t exercise on a regular basis.
- I don’t know what my cholesterol levels are or my levels are too high
- I haven’t checked my blood pressure recently.
- I need to be at a healthier weight
- I have not been screened for diabetes or my diabetes is not well controlled
- I need to lower my stress levels
- I do not follow a heart healthy diet
take action on defining your goals
If any of the risk factors apply to you, you need to promise yourself that you will make a plan to address it. The key is to start somewhere. Here are some tips for staying on task with your heart health goals.
Figuring out where to start can be overwhelming. Take a deep breathe and focus on one thing at a time. Let’s look at cholesterol screenings:
- Pull out your medical records or log into your patient portal. Gather whatever information you can collect and make note of what your baseline status was or is.
- Do you know what your levels are?
- Do you understand what they mean?
- Has it been more than one year since you had your levels checked?
- If you have a prescription for cholesterol meds, are you filling it and taking them as instructed?
- Are you following a heart healthy diet?
When you get to the point to where you ‘know your numbers’ and have an action plan, you can move on to the next topic. Try focusing on one risk factor a month. If you take it one step at a time and commit to making an action plan for each risk factor, you will have an action plan for improving your heart health by the end of 2021.
That’s not too hard is it? Remember that self care is not selfish.
Which risk factor will you focus on this month?