ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — American Heart Month in February puts a spotlight on reducing your risk for cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Kailyn Rigby of Highland Family Medicine discussed the steps you can take to avoid cardiovascular disease — which is the leading cause of death worldwide — Tuesday during News 8 at Sunrise.
“Valentine’s Day is next week and because it’s American Heart Month, I want to help look after our hearts,” Dr. Rigby said. “Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide but a lot of cardiovascular diseases are preventable.”
Dr. Rigby said to use the American Heart Association acronym GO RED to look after your heart and avoid cardiovascular disease.
“So the G stands represents get your numbers. Ask your doctor to check your blood pressure, your cholesterol, your hemoglobin A1C which is a marker of diabetes so that you know where you stand. Then the O — that’s for own your risk. This is the hardest but most important component of preventing heart disease and that includes quitting smoking, eating healthier, and exercising — moving your body. Then R — realize your risk. So this is something else that you can work with your doctor on. We have things like the ASCVD risk score — that’s a score that helps us predict your risk for having a heart-related event like a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years. And then we can work together to come up with strategies to reduce that risk. E is educating others, so your family and friends — those around you — about the risk of heart disease. And then D — don’t be silent! So get those people around you to partner with you and come alongside you to take steps toward a healthier heart.”
Dr. Rigby acknowledged some of these lifestyle changes can be hard.
“I always recommend starting small and increasing as you go,” she said. “First, with quitting smoking, you can get tools from your health care provider such as medications, nicotine replacement, groups, and resources to quit smoking. For eating healthier try something small like planning to try one healthy recipe with your family once a week. And then for moving your body you could try walking, get a walking buddy — or for Valentine’s Day which is coming up, if you haven’t got an activity, you could make it an active one. So you could try hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, or rock climbing. Whether or not you have a significant other, you can do those things.”