Did you know? Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States among both men and women.

During American Heart Month, our team at AFC Urgent Care Cleveland wants you to know the importance of heart health, as well as the specific way that smoking damages your heart. Read on as we share some insight.

Could I Be Hurting My Heart Health?

The simple answer is: probably. Most of us have at least a few unhealthy habits that could be causing damage to our heart and raising our risk of heart disease.

The heart is essential to the body’s function, since it pumps oxygenated blood to all parts of the body. That’s why it is so important to ensure you’re taking steps to protect your heart and keep it healthy.

Ways to Strengthen Your Heart

  • Get moving more often, aiming for 30 minutes most days.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat heart-healthy foods, such as fatty fish, olive oil and nuts.
  • Find ways to relieve stress, like meditation or yoga.
  • Limit alcohol consumption.
  • Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

How Does Smoking Damage Your Heart?

We mentioned above that not smoking is a way to protect your heart. But why is that? Quite simply, it’s because smoking is extremely dangerous to your heart.

Smoking has been shown to increase your heart rate, tighten up your blood vessels, increase your blood pressure and can make your heart beat abnormally, all of which can increase your risk of heart disease and other heart health issues. There is no safe amount of smoking, which is why quitting is best.

Tips for Smoking Cessation

  • Find your reason to quit and keep it top of mind.
  • Create a plan for quitting.
  • Think about using nicotine replacement therapy.
  • Ask your loved ones for their support.
  • Avoid alcohol and other triggers that make you want to smoke.
  • Find alternative ways to handle stress.

Could your health—and your heart—use a checkup? Visit AFC Urgent Care Cleveland today. No appointment is necessary!