It’s only fitting that February has been deemed American Heart Month. As we all focus on love, flowers, chocolate and, yes, symbolic hearts, it’s the perfect time to think of our own actual hearts, whose beating keeps us alive and well. Here’s why it’s important to do so, and how, contrary to popular belief, your eyes may actually be the way to your heart.
Prevent Heart Disease
Despite all the research and knowledge we have today, heart disease is still the number one killer of both men and women. To live a long and healthy life, you must take care of your heart and cardiovascular system.
A few best practices for prevention include:
Eating a wide range of nutritious foods
Preventing (or managing) diabetes
Schedule An Eye Exam
In addition to these guidelines, it’s also highly recommended that you have an annual eye exam. While it may initially seem unrelated, there’s a lot that can be uncovered about heart health (and your general health) in such settings.
Early signs of heart disease - During retinal examination, doctors may be able to identify microscopic marks left behind by an eye stroke, which are found in greater numbers in those who have heart disease.
High blood pressure - During a dilated eye exam, doctors may notice “bends, kinks or bleeding from blood vessels in the back of the eye,” which can signal high blood pressure.
High cholesterol - A yellow or white ring around the cornea may be a sign of high cholesterol, especially in a person younger than age 40. Deposits in the blood vessels of the retina can also indicate elevated cholesterol. This may be the precursor to a life-threatening stroke.
As you can see, your annual eye exam can do a lot to catch potential indicators of heart disease early, when you’re most likely to be able to take action. So this February, spread the love–and also, be good to your heart.