Caring for your heart, close to homeMore than 25% of all deaths are from heart disease, and it is a leading cause of disability. While heart disease can be a scary thing to think about, the implications of not thinking about it are even scarier. Thankfully, there are a number of things that can be done to reduce a person’s chances of developing heart disease, all of which are included in the American Heart Association's “Simple 7”:
- Get Active. Did you know that by exercising at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day (like brisk walking), five times per week, you can improve your heart health and quality of life? By becoming more active, you can almost guarantee yourself a healthier and more satisfying life while lowering your risks for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Parents, your children need 60 minutes a day–every day–so when you get active, you’re also modeling healthy living for the next generation.
- Control Cholesterol. Try eating healthy foods that are low in cholesterol, trans fats and saturated fats. A diet high in fiber also helps keep cholesterol levels controlled. Schedule a cholesterol screening and stay current on your health check-ups. Some people inherit a gene that causes them to make too much bad cholesterol (LDL). If your doctor prescribes cholesterol medication for you, it is important that you take it and follow the other healthy lifestyle recommendations, too. The good news is you can lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Eat Better. Recent studies show that more than 90% of us fail to consistently eat a heart-healthy diet. Our poor eating habits mean more of us have risk factors for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity. Stock your pantry and fridge with healthy food. Less junk and more produce. The American Heart Association recommends that you eat a wide variety of nutritious foods daily from each of the basic food groups. To get the nutrients you need, choose foods like vegetables, fruits, fiber-rich whole-grain breads and cereals and fat-free or low-fat dairy products most often.
- Manage Blood Pressure. One in three adults has high blood pressure, yet, many people don’t even know they have it. Uncontrolled high blood pressure kills people and wreaks havoc on many lives by causing heart disease and stroke. High blood pressure is the single most significant risk factor for heart disease. When your blood pressure stays within healthy ranges, you reduce the strain on your heart, arteries, and kidneys which keeps you healthier longer. In addition to becoming more active and eating better, managing stress, limiting alcohol and avoiding tobacco smoke can all help to reduce your blood pressure.
- Lose Weight. Imagine carrying around a 30-pound backpack all day, every day! It would be a strain, just like extra body weight. When you shed extra fat and unnecessary pounds, you reduce the burden on your heart, lungs, blood vessels and skeleton. You give yourself the gift of active living, you lower your blood pressure and you help yourself feel better, too. If your body mass index (BMI) is 25.0 or higher, you will benefit by bringing your number down below 25. If your BMI is 30.0 or higher, you are at significant risk for heart health problems.
- Reduce Blood Sugar. If your fasting blood sugar level is below 100, you are in the healthy range. If not, your results could indicate diabetes or pre-diabetes. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or blood sugar, that our bodies use for energy. Your body makes a hormone called insulin that acts like a carrier to take your food energy into your cells. When your body stops making insulin or the insulin stops doing its job, your energy supply and blood sugars are no longer stable and serious health problems like diabetes can result.
- Stop Smoking. Cigarette smokers have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. If you smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do for your health. Smoking is one of our nation’s top causes of early death, but your lungs can begin to heal as soon as you quit. Parents, talk with your kids about cigarette smoking. Many people begin their addiction during adolescence and spend years wishing they had never started. Learning to say ‘no’ to cigarettes is learning to say ‘yes’ to your good health.
Nutrition Education Appointments are available on an outpatient basis.
We offer Carbohydrate Counting education for clients with diabetes, Renal Diet education for patients with renal disease of any stage, Weight Loss diet instruction for Overweight/Obese Children and Adults, and Heart Healthy Diet instruction for individuals with heart conditions, elevated cholesterol, or elevated triglycerides. We would also be happy to answer any other nutrition related questions or topic you would like to discuss. Appointments can be made by referral from your Primary Care Physician or Specialist. You may also request an appointment by calling our Scheduling Department at 371-2166. Some medical insurances cover diabetes and renal education. Appointments are not covered by health insurances and will have a $25.00 charge. Please contact us today so we can assist you in making heathier lifestyle choices.