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February 24, 2019: Healthy Hearts

My weekly Get Your Stuff Together Sunday email series gives you one actionable focus for the week that will make your life a little easier.

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Choosing a healthy lifestyle dramatically lowers your risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death in women. It's a sobering reality that half of Americans have at least one of the leading risk factors for heart disease: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or are smokers. This week, we’re going to talk about heart health and how you can make some healthy changes and choices to keep your ticker at its best.

Heart-Healthy Behaviors and Factors

Starting and continuing healthy habits could be life-altering. According to the American Heart Association, there are 4 heart-healthy behaviors and 3 heart-healthy factors for optimal heart health.

Heart-Healthy Behaviors:

  • Nonsmoking

  • BMI lower than 25

  • Adequate physical activity as recommended by leading organizations

  • Healthy, balanced diet

Heart Healthy Factors:

  • Cholesterol below 200 mg/dl

  • Blood pressure below 120/80

  • Fasting blood sugar below 100

Keeping Track of Heart-Healthy Numbers

Do you know your heart-healthy numbers? If you haven't had your physical this year, make sure when you do, you pay attention to the numbers.

The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends you check your cholesterol every 5 years. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat like substance that your body needs, but too much can build up on the artery walls and lead to heart disease, or if there is too much in the blood, it can lead to a stroke. Cholesterol tests provide numbers for four different lipids: total cholesterol below 200 ml/dl; LDL low-density lipids (bad cholesterol) less than 100mg/dl; HDl high density lipids (good cholesterol) 60mg/dl or higher; and triglycerides, another form of fat in the blood less than 150mg/dl.

Doctors recommend getting your blood pressure checked every two years, if it's normal. If it's high or borderline, it should be checked regularly, especially if you are on medication. Your blood pressure consists of the systolic over diastolic blood pressure. Systolic is the force of blood being pushed through your arteries that creates pressure on the blood vessels. Diastolic is pressure when the heart fills with blood and gets oxygen while the heart rests between beats.

Another important part of your yearly physical includes blood tests. Fasting blood sugar tests the amount of glucose in your blood. Elevated levels of glucose are an indication of diabetes. The normal level is less than 100mg/dl, between 115-125 is pre-diabetes, and higher than 126 on two samples is diabetes.

Although alarming, the good news is if your tests results come back high, the numbers are reversible through a healthy lifestyle.

Next Sunday, we’ll talk about clean eating and how you can get started with it.

Want some expert help with reaching your health goals painlessly? Check out my programs! We’ll get everything taken care of in a way that fits into your current lifestyle so you never have to think about your health again.

Do you have a friend who could stand to G(her)ST? Feel free to forward this!

I hope you have a wonderful week,


Kelly Morgan, Ph.D.

Tsirona -

My weekly GYSTS email give you one actionable thing to do for the week that will make you life a little easier. As "they" say, "Fail to plan; plan to fail." Get these emails (and more!) delivered right to your inbox by clicking HERE.