Focus on Your Heart Seven Days a Week!

heart health month

Up until Valentine’s Day, hearts are everywhere; practically every store is filled with heart-shaped boxes of candy, “I love you” trinkets and sentimental greeting cards. During this time of year when many people are focused on the hearts associated with cupid, the one heart that every adult should pay closer attention to is the one in the middle of their chest.

February is American Heart Month, a time when men and women should focus on their cardiovascular health. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease remains the number one cause of death in the United States; and, cardiovascular disease claims more lives each year in the United States than all forms of cancer and chronic lower respiratory disease combined.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), which is one of the largest institutes at the National Institutes of Health, recommends devoting some time every day to protect the health of your heart. Simple self-care, such as taking a moment to de-stress, giving yourself time to move more, preparing healthier meals and getting enough sleep can all benefit your heart.

Adil Waheed, DO, an interventional cardiologist with Penn Highlands Healthcare in Monongahela, Pennsylvania also advocates self-care to reduce the risk of heart disease.

“Studies show self-care routines, such as taking a daily walk and keeping doctors’ appointments, help us keep our blood pressure in the healthy range and reduce our risk of heart disease,” explained Dr. Waheed.

The NHLBI encourages adults to “put your heart into your daily routine.” For example, they suggest taking online yoga classes, preparing heart-healthy recipes or scheduling bedtime to allow for a minimum of seven hours of sleep. In addition, they developed a list of self-care tips for each day of the week to help you make heart health a priority.

Self-care Sunday — Find some serenity by spending some quiet time alone.

Mindful Monday — Be mindful of your vitals including blood pressure, blood sugar, weight and make positive changes if needed.

Tasty Tuesday — Eat healthier by reducing salt and adding more fruits, vegetables, fish, poultry, lean meats, nuts, whole grains and low-fat dairy products to your diet.

Wellness Wednesday — Move more and eat a fruit or vegetable you have never tried before and make a plan to quit smoking or vaping.

Treat Yourself Thursday — Do something healthy you enjoy. Try making a dessert with fresh fruit and yogurt. Host a family dance party, take a few minutes to sit still and meditate or go for a long walk.

Follow Friday — Follow inspiring people and pages on social media, or text a friend to help you stick to your self-care goals.

Selfie Saturday — Inspire others to take care of their own hearts. Talk about your self-care routine with loved ones or share a selfie on your social media platforms.

If you have been diagnosed with cardiac problems or you want to take better care of your heart, the cardiologists at Penn Highlands Healthcare diagnose and treat all types of heart disease, including arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation, blockages, congestive heart failure and more. For more information, visit In addition, Penn Highlands Healthcare offers a five-minute Heart Health Quiz that allows you to discover the risk factors that you can change right now to lower your risk of heart disease.