Don’t Go Breaking Your Heart KC
Every February we celebrate American Heart Month in order to remember and raise awareness about the importance of heart health. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. 1 in every 4 deaths, or about 610,000 people, each year die from heart disease in the United States. Your heart is the epicenter of every vital organ in your body. If your heart isn’t functioning, nothing else is either. See what I’m saying here?
Not an “Old Person’s” Disease
Heart disease is not only an “old person’s” disease. Every day, young men and women are having heart attacks and strokes. Cathy, age 42, had a strong family history of heart disease but was not worried because she had always been told, “Women don’t have heart attacks.” But the reality is, heart disease is the number one killer of woman. When she started experiencing shortness of breath while exercising and having weird pains in her chest she knew it was time to see a doctor. It was a good thing she listened to her instincts, two of her coronary arteries were almost completely blocked. Without medical intervention, Cathy’s condition could have been fatal.
Know Your Numbers
Do you know the most critical numbers for your heart health? The American Heart Association recommends that you know these key numbers.
- Blood pressure: A normal blood pressure is 120/80. If your blood pressure is high, your risk for heart disease greatly increase. Check your blood pressure at one of the FREE monitoring stations in Olathe, Mission or Overland Park.
- Cholesterol: Too much cholesterol in your blood increases your risk for heart disease. Get tested to learn your total cholesterol, good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Blood Sugar: High blood sugar can damage your heart.
- Body Mass Index (BMI): The higher your BMI, the higher your risk for heart disease, especially at BMI greater than 30.
Schedule a visit with your healthcare provider to learn your numbers and assess your risk for heart disease. In addition to knowing your numbers, you can make a few changes to keep your heart healthy and ticking.
Maintaining a Healthy Ticker
There are two things you can do today to start on a path to a longer, healthier life. Even modest improvements to your health can make a difference.
- Get Active: Daily physical activity increases your length and quality of life. Just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity (like brisk walking), five times per week, can lower your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Pretty soon, the weather will get warmer and we will see the sun for more than an hour at a time. Find a new trail or park and phone a friend to meet you there for a 30 minute walk.
- Eat Better: Make sure your diet includes fruits, veggies, low-fat dairy, fiber-rich whole grains and lean meats including fish. To learn more about a heart healthy diet and try some yummy recipes, join us at one of our heart month events at the Olathe Public Library on February 14, 2017 or February 21, 2017.
Making just a few changes to keep your heart healthy can add not only years to your life but years that are more enjoyable, free from heart disease and other chronic conditions. Live well today to live better tomorrow!