FOH February 2019 (posted February 12, 2019)

Heart Health Month & You
Jamie Roth, RN, PHN, BSN
 
February is Heart Health Month, which focuses on spreading awareness about heart disease and things you can do to prevent heart disease. The most common type of heart disease is coronary heart disease, most commonly referred to as “clogged arteries.” It is a main cause of heart attacks, and it is also the #1 killer of both men & women in the United States. 
There are risk factors that make a person more likely to develop a disease, and include both modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors.  Non-modifiable risk factors are things you cannot change about yourself, such as age, race/ethnicity, gender, and family health history. Modifiable risk factors are things you change to decrease your risk factor for heart disease. These include obesity, smoking, unhealthy eating, lack of physical activity, high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes/pre-diabetes.
You can take steps now to help prevent your risk of heart disease.
Exercise – work on getting 30 minutes a day of moderate-intensity activity (i.e. brisk walking), most days of the week. If you are not used to regular exercise, consult with your doctor and work on an exercise plan. Increasing activity little by little is still helpful!
Eating – work on incorporating healthier choices into your diet, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, and work on eating less fatty/high sodium foods. Eating lots of unhealthy food also puts you at risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.
Healthy Weight – losing weight is a great way to help lower your risk of heart disease. Slow and steady is the best way to keep weight off, along with a commitment to healthier eating and regular activity.
Quit Smoking – by quitting smoking you will decrease your risk for lung and mouth cancer as well as heart disease and stroke. For resources on quitting smoking, visit WIquitLine.org or call 1-800-784-8669.
Limit/Stop Alcohol Use – moderation is the key to alcohol, which means no more than one drink per day. However, keep in mind that no amount of alcohol is safe.
Preventative Care – make sure you see your doctor at least annually to get a regular check up and labs drawn (including cholesterol and blood sugar levels). Keeping up with your doctor can help you spot a problem in the early stages, and allow you to keep it from developing into something more serious. Also take care of yourself, and make sure to get enough sleep, de-stress and take care of your mental health as well!
Knowing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack can be crucial in helping save someone’s life, including your own!
Chest pain or discomfort (can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, pain or even indigestion)
Pain or discomfort in other areas of the body (Either or both arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach)
Shortness of breath
Other symptoms such as nausea, light-headedness, cold sweats, or even just feeling ill
For more information please contact the Langlade County Health Department at 715-627-6250 or visit the following websites:
https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/
https://www.heart.org/en/