Be good to your heart

Guest Column
By: 
Leann Herman
Monticello Nursing & Rehab Campus

     Heart disease is the number one leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States.

     The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 630,000 Americans die from heart disease each year. In the U.S., someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds and each minute, more than one person dies from a heart disease-related event. Stop and think about that – more than one person dies from a heart disease-related event each minute. Even more astounding, a recent report from the CDC found that 200,000 deaths each year from heart disease and stroke are preventable. About 80 percent of deaths from coronary artery disease (heart disease caused by narrowing of the arteries which leads to reduced blood flow to the heart) can be attributed to preventable factors like obesity, lack of physical activity, and smoking. Other risk factors include poor diet, heavy alcohol consumption, and not keeping your blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol under control.

     February is American heart Month, a time to focus on heart health and make some simple changes that could have a powerful impact on protecting your heart from disease. The American Heart Association (AHA) is a non-profit organization that funds cardiovascular medical research, provides education on healthy living, and is dedicated to improving heart health and reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases. Their goal is “to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent, and reduce the deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent by 2020.” You can do your part by making some of the following lifestyle changes: improve your diet, quit smoking, increase your physical activity, aim for seven hours of sleep at night, reduce your salt intake, and limit alcohol consumption.

     Donald Lloyd-Jones, MD, of Northwestern University’s School of Medicine says that by following these suggestions, “It’s like finding the fountain of youth. People who follow these steps not only live longer, but they also spend a lot more time healthy, without cardiovascular disease.”

     And isn’t that what we all want – a healthier life? It’s also very important to know your numbers – cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and blood pressure. Although there may be no early symptoms to high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes, these conditions left untreated have a huge negative impact on your heart by damaging or clogging arteries.

     Visit the American Heart Association website at www.heart.org. Their website is full of specific tips on making healthy lifestyle changes, and how to stay motivated, turning these changes into healthy habits by 2020.

     Call Leann at Monticello Nursing and Rehab at 319-465-5415 for more information on heart health and other senior care topics.

 

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