With February our mind turns to thoughts of valentines and hearts. Speaking of hearts, did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States? Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease.
The good news? Heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create opportunities for people to make healthier choices.
You can make healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease. To lower your risk:
- If you smoke, quit; and stay away from secondhand smoke.
- Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
- If you choose to drink alcohol, limit your drinking to no more than 1 drink a day for women and no more than 2 drinks a day for men.
- Eat healthy and get active. Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week.
- Aim for a healthy weight. If you are overweight or obese, losing just 10 pounds can lower your risk of heart disease.
When it comes to your heart what you eat matters. Follow these tips for heart-healthy eating:
- Eat less saturated and trans fat. Stay away from fatty meats, fried foods, cakes, and cookies.
- Cut down on sodium (salt). Look for the low-sodium or “no salt added” types of canned soups, vegetables, snack foods, and lunch meats.
- Get more fiber. Fiber is in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
Warning signs for a heart attack:
- Chest discomfort
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body
- Shortness of breath
- Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, and light-headedness
If the person shows any of these signs, call 9-1-1immediately.
Learn the signs, but remember this: Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, have it checked out (tell a doctor about your symptoms). Minutes matter! Fast action can save lives — maybe your own. Call 9-1-1.
Calling 9-1-1 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment. Emergency medical services (EMS) staff can begin treatment when they arrive — up to an hour sooner than if someone gets to the hospital by car. EMS staff are also trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped. Patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance usually receive faster treatment at the hospital, too. It is best to call EMS for rapid transport to the emergency room.
· Sudden loss of responsiveness
· No response to tapping on shoulders
· No normal breathing
If these signs of cardiac arrest are present, tell someone to call 9-1-1 and get an AED (if one is available) and you begin CPR immediately.
If you are alone with an adult who has these signs of cardiac arrest, call 9-1-1 and get an AED (if one is available) before you begin CPR.
Use an AED as soon as it arrives.
Did you know that we just had CPR/AED/Heimlich training at the church on Sunday, January 31st? Hosted by our church’s Health and Wellness Committee, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital provided three nurses, the equipment and the training. We had 22 participants! The church does have an AED (automated external defibrillator) available. It is located on the wall by the bathrooms on the first floor. Check it out – you never know when you may need it or be asked to retrieve it.
Karen Braatz, RN
Health and Wellness Committee