The human heart is an amazing organ. It is about the size of your fist, yet contains a network of blood vessels that would stretch 100,000 miles long. Quietly pumping 70-80 times per minute, it keeps a flow of oxygenated blood moving through the body.
Sadly, heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States among both males and females. Your risk of heart disease increases if you:
- Are of African American or Latino descent
- Have a family history of early heart disease
- Are a man 45 years and older or a women 55 years and older
- Have High Blood Pressure
- Have High cholesterol
- Are overweight or obese
- Have Diabetes
- Are Inactive
To keep our hearts healthy, the American Stroke Association and American Heart Association have developed a short list of factors called The Simple 7. Even if you only made one of these changes, you would be greatly improving your heart health! Let’s take a quick survey:
- GET ACTIVE! 7 out of 10 Americans are too sedentary to maintain health. An optimal goal is 30 minutes of moderate physical activity 5 days a week, but ANY activity is better than none.
- CONTROL CHOLESTEROL. Cholesterol from SATURATED AND TRANS fat creates plaque buildup in our arteries that is like candle wax. These plaques can break off at any time and create blockages that lead to heart attacks.
- EAT BETTER. Stock your pantry with healthy foods representing a rainbow of choices, including whole grains, fish, legumes, and lots of fruits and vegetables.
- MANAGE BLOOD PRESSURE. High blood pressure causes small arterial tears that become thick with scar tissue and trap plaque. Reducing blood pressure reduces the strain on the heart, arteries and kidneys.
- LOSE WEIGHT. Since 2/3 of us are overweight, we need to ask our medical providers to guide us to achieving a Body Mass Index of 25 or less. Ask: What are the caloric needs for a person of my age, gender and activity level?
- REDUCE BLOOD SUGAR by avoiding simple sugars and increasing activity levels.
- STOP SMOKING!
Want to assess your risk? Go to www.mylifecheck.heart.org and take the survey. Your Cascade Companion Care caregiver can help you reach your goals.