Don’t miss a beat. Get heart healthy.

By Hilary Oakes, Cardiology Nurse Practitioner, Shaw Heart and Vascular Specialists

February is Heart Health Month—a great time to commit to a healthier lifestyle to help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. Heart disease causes about one in four deaths in the U.S. each year. This means that about 25 percent of all deaths annually are related to heart disease!


Fortunately, you can lower your risk with a healthy diet and regular physical activity. Even small changes like reducing your salt intake and taking a daily 30-minute walk can help cut your risk in half. Some risk factors cannot be controlled such as age or family history, but others can through lifestyle changes, including stopping any use of tobacco, working to manage your stress and taking medications as prescribed.


Heart disease risks you can control, reduce, or treat

  • High blood pressure and/ or high blood cholesterol
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Being physically inactive


Small changes can make a big difference in your heart health. Start with one new heart-healthy change at a time to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. Get started with these tips.


Make healthier choices, one meal at a time

  • Cook heart-healthy meals at least three times a week. You can find easy to follow, dietician approved  recipes from Mercy’s Well Fed Me         online site:
  • Swap out salt for fresh or dried herbs and spices
  • Remove processed food and sweets from your pantry


Add exercise to your daily routine

  • Aim for 15 minutes of physical activity, three times each week
  • By mid-month, increase your time to 30 minutes, three times each week
  • Try new activities like biking, yoga or water aerobics


If you smoke, take steps to quit

  • Gradually reduce your number of cigarettes per day
  • Connect with a quit coach through the Oregon Tobacco Quitline, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)
  • Join a local smoking cessation class


Take medication as prescribed

  • Set a reminder to take high blood pressure and cholesterol medications on time
  • Use a pillbox to help keep medications organized
  • Consult your primary care physician if you're having trouble taking your medicines on time, or if you're having side effects


Your heart is the life source of everything you do. A healthy heart starts by taking small steps today to help limit your risk of heart disease and stroke tomorrow. Starting new habits can be hard at first, but can soon become routine. And, healthy recipes do not have to take a lot of time or be difficult to make. Get started today with simple, nutritious recipes and demo videos at


A healthier heart is within reach!

Visit for heart-healthy recipes and more.


CHI Mercy Health   Mercy Medical Center   2700 NW Stewart Parkway   Roseburg   Oregon  97471   541.673.0611




Copyright 2016 Mercy Medical Center  All Rights Reserved Ver. 20160521_0600