Celebrating World Heart Day
Each September, we at David Couper Consulting are excited to celebrate World Heart Day. We will be sharing our gratitude for each beat we have been given, and for each beat yet to come.
Founded in 2000 by the World Heart Federation, World Heart Day was created in an effort to raise awareness of cardiovascular disease and educate us all about what we can do to keep our hearts healthy. Today, more than 90 countries participate in World Heart Day each year.
We at DCC let this day serve as a reminder for all of us to take a step back, examine our lives, and ask ourselves, “Are we living for our hearts?”
According to statistics, over 17 million people die every year from cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke. Like anything, we have an opportunity to take a proactive approach to our cardiovascular health. It’s time to make our own heart-health a priority.
Aside from congenital heart defects or birth-related heart problems, there are many leading causes for heart disease that we have an opportunity to prevent. Below are just a few of the main causes, how their presence can indicate possible signs of heart problems, and what steps you can take to make a positive change, for the sake of your heart:
High Blood Pressure
Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to the thickening of arteries, resulting in narrow passageways and constricted blood flow. This requires the heart to work harder to pump the same amount of blood, overworking and exhausting our most precious organ. Though most of the time the underlying cause of hypertension is indeterminable, both genetics, diet and lifestyle are main factors. Unfortunately, high blood pressure often shows no symptoms, so monitoring your blood pressure on a regular basis is critical. The good news is that there are many ways to lower blood pressure, including changing eating habits, being more physically active, and getting better sleep.
If you would like more information about high blood pressure or are looking for ways to lower your own risk, this is a great place to start... click here.
Any healthcare professional will alert you of the dangers of smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and drug use. We’ve all read articles about how alcohol has proven to be beneficial to our health. Some of us tell ourselves that one or two cigarettes a day is hardly smoking. And there are those of us who struggle with a far greater dependency. Regardless of external effects, substance abuse destroys human bodies. The truth is that every cigarette you smoke raises your risk of heart disease. Excessive drinking can lead to cardiomyopathy, cardiac arrhythmia and sudden cardiac death.
If you or anyone you know would like to make a shift in their relationship to alcohol or drugs, there are many resources available to you, including this.
Diets high in fat, salt, sugar, and cholesterol have all been known to contribute to poor heart health. Studies have shown that nearly half of all deaths from heart disease, stroke and diabetes in the United States are associated with diets that skimp on certain foods and nutrients, such as vegetables, and exceed optimal levels of others, like salt. It’s easy for all of us to fall into poor eating habits. With all the unhealthy choices available to us, which are often times quicker and cheaper, it’s no wonder that some of us struggle to eat the way we really want to. But, each day is a new day, and one less french fry or one more piece of broccoli is a start. (1)
With all the different types of diets out there today, paleo, keto, blood type, no fat, all fat, etc., it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with no idea where to start or how to make a change. For a fun quiz that takes less than 30 seconds and may help give you some direction, click here.
Stress affects everyone in different ways. But all unrelieved stress has the potential to manifest in our bodies, damaging arteries, weakening muscles, and increasing other risk factors for heart disease. There are so many different types of stresses; chronic stress, severe stress, day-to-day stress. There’s almost no limit to the ways that stress can enter our lives.
The good news is, for as many ways that stress can come into our lives, there are just as many ways that we can let it go. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Picture yourself enjoying a beautiful day outside. Imagine the sun on your face and the sweet scent of summer in the air. Take another deep breath. There! Don’t you already feel just a little bit better?
Self-care plays a major role in managing stress. Download a copy of DCC’s Self-Care eBook today to get started on your own journey of stress relief. To get your own copy of the Self-Care eBook, click here.
Each of these leading causes is dangerous in their own right, but the combination of more than one of these factors puts our hearts at even greater risk. The good thing is, considering how many of the above causes are related, often times making just a small shift in one area can help us in all of the other areas. For example, if we make a small change of allowing ourselves an extra hour of sleep, our bodies will feel more energized and ready to put in physical work, we’ll have less time to eat unhealthy food and drink, and our bodies will feel more rested and less stressed.
"This year we're asking people around the world to make a promise ... for my heart, for your heart, for all our hearts." - World Heart Federation
We invite you to join us this year and make your own promise, pledge to honor your heart by bringing it back into your daily conscious awareness. Try one small shift towards your greater good. Commit to smoking one less cigarette a day, make an appointment with your health-care professional for that test you’ve been putting off, take a nap.
Change doesn’t have to be big to be effective. Get as creative as you’d like.
Remember, you can be your own Heart Hero!