Live a longer, healthier life with a healthy heart
In today’s busy world, it can be challenging to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It is easy to get off track with temptations like fast food and sugary drinks and it can be hard to find the energy to exercise when you have to juggle work, children and a social life.
At Novant Health, helping our communities stay healthy and informed is a mission we work hard toward every day. To support this mission, we provide education and a variety of programs and services to help make a healthier lifestyle easier to attain. Our healthy living programs are designed to help prevent and manage heart disease. From maintaining a good diet to staying active and exercising, we can help you take control of your health. Taking care of your heart and living a long and healthy life go hand-in-hand.
Be an advocate for your health - There are several lifestyle changes and actions you can take to reduce your risk of heart disease:
- Exercise 30 to 60 minutes a day on most days
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Quit smoking
- Eat foods that are low in saturated fat, cholesterol and salt
- Take prescription medications appropriately
- Manage your risk factors (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes)
Exercise for a stronger heart - In general, you should do moderate exercise, such as walking at a brisk pace, for 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week. If it works better for your schedule, you can break up your physical activity into several 10- to 15- minute sessions throughout the day. The benefits are still the same.
A healthy weight lowers your heart disease risk - Being overweight and having a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher can put you at increased risk for heart disease. A healthy weight varies from person-to-person, but having a normal BMI is helpful. The BMI calculation assists you in determining if you have a healthy or unhealthy percentage of body fat. Losing just 10 to 15 pounds can help lower your blood pressure and help prevent diabetes – both of which increase your risk of heart disease.
Do you know your family health history? - Family history is a risk factor for heart disease that cannot be changed; however, being informed of your family's health history and controlling any other risk factors you have could be key in protecting you from heart disease. A family health history shows the pattern of certain diseases in a family and helps determine risk factors for those and other diseases.
What can you do if cardiovascular disease is in your family's health history?
- Talk to your healthcare provider about your family health history of cardiovascular disease
- Make a plan to preserve your health
- Have regular screenings and risk assessments by a healthcare provider
- Engage in healthy behavior
How can you obtain your family health history? - To learn more about your family health history, you should ask questions and collect information about grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, siblings and other blood relatives; obtain information including:
- Major medical conditions
- Causes of death
- Ethnic background
- Age of disease onset and age at death
Do you know your numbers? - These are numbers everyone should learn about and keep track of on a regular basis:
- Blood sugar levels
- Blood pressure
- Cholesterol levels
- Body mass index
It is important to schedule an appointment with your doctor to check your numbers – even if you are not sick. Knowing your numbers today is much better than waiting until you are sick to see your doctor. It makes you and your doctor aware of your risk factors and helps lead you on the path to a heart-healthier you.
Classes, programs and services - At Novant Health, we offer a variety of classes and programs to help you make lifestyle choices that promote a healthy heart. Our highly-trained staff will empower you to make smarter decisions through instruction, knowledge, and support.
- Exercise – No matter your current fitness level, our highly-trained exercise experts will design an individualized exercise program to meet your needs and wellness goals.
- Weight loss – No two people are alike. That’s why we will provide you with a personalized weight-loss plan that combines exercise and a healthy diet. We will teach you how to choose healthier foods and find an exercise program that will help you meet your weight-loss goal.
- Smoking cessation – Stopping smoking is the number one thing you can do to lower your risk for heart disease. Our specially-trained experts will provide you with the support and resources you need to kick the habit for good.
- Healthy eating – Eating healthy is an important part of keeping your heart healthy and managing heart disease. We offer a variety of services that can empower you to form healthy eating habits and reduce your chance of a heart attack.
- Personal nutrition – Our registered dietitians can help you put together a healthy eating plan that is centered around your needs and personal taste. We provide more than a diet plan – we provide a healthier you.
- Heart-healthy cooking – Cooking healthy and delicious meals might be easier than you think. Our registered dietitians can show you how to bring a variety of heart-healthy dishes to your dinner table that the entire family will enjoy.
- Heart-healthy cookbooks – Our team of heart disease experts have created two easy-to-follow cookbooks based on the Mediterranean-American diet. You will get delicious – yet healthy – recipes that are rich in fruits, vegetables, olive oil and fish.
While medical treatment and medications are great methods for fighting heart and vascular diseases, knowledge can be an equally-powerful prescription. Our educational programs are used to raise awareness, offer support, and teach you how to manage your heart disease diagnosis. Our classes are offered in a variety of settings and formats and include these topics:
- Heart health
- Stroke prevention
- Vascular health
- Women’s health