February 1, 2014

February is Heart Month

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women.  Not only is it preventable, but it is curable.  Coronary artery disease is caused when plaque builds up in your arteries and lead to a heart attack, chest pain, or heart failure.  Cardiovascular disease includes heart disease or a stroke.  These conditions cost our health system a lot of money including the cost of drugs, medical testing, and time lost at work. That can cost $312 billion dollars per year! That is both scary and alarming!  But we can beat this….start small and make changes that can save your life.

• Eat a healthy diet with at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables daily.  Eat foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol, but high in fiber and monitor your salt intake.
• Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of heart disease.
• 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your blood pressure and cholesterol.
• Stop smoking.  Smoking constricts your arteries and greatly increases your risk for cardiovascular problems.
• Limit your alcohol use to no more than 2 drinks per day. Drinking too much alcohol can increase your blood pressure.

Every year the American Heart Association celebrates “Go Red” day in February to bring attention to heart disease, particularly as it affects women.  Many women do not recognize the signs of a heart attack or other heart issues.  This campaign brings these symptoms to light and encourages women of all ages to be cognizant of their heart health.

Many Americans suffer from high blood pressure.  If you have high blood pressure, have it checked regularly.  Have your cholesterol checked so you know if you are at a higher risk.  If you are diabetic, keep your blood sugar levels under control. If you take medication for cholesterol, blood pressure or diabetes, follow your doctor’s instructions.  Some health conditions and lifestyle factors can put people at a higher risk for developing heart disease. You can help prevent heart disease by making healthy choices and managing any medical conditions you may have.  Stay HEART HEALTHY, now and in the future!


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