The American Heart Association (AHA) sent me an envelope filled with information on our hearts. I used the title of the greeting card, Celebrate Your Heart, for my last posting a few days ago, and now I am adding some important information about heart disease from this same organization.
(Link to previous posting: https://www.menupause.info/celebrate-your-h…nd-heart-disease/)
Healthy Hearts depend on many factors, some of which are: Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar, Body Mass Index (BMI), Total Cholesterol and HDL (good) Cholesterol. Most blood tests will provide this information, except for Blood Pressure, which your doctor can determine in an office visit.
Physical Activity and Your Heart:
Most articles I have read suggest what the AMH recommends: At least 130 minutes of exercise per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise or a combination of both. If you do 30 minutes per day for at least 5 days, that should be sufficient.
My exercise plan includes 2 sessions of cleaning house, which often take 1-2 hours; tai chi for 45 min. once each week; yoga once each week; treadmill and weights in the condo gym or my own bedroom, once or twice each week; walking once each week in winter and more often in the summer, along with swimming every day. When I miss tai chi or yoga, I aim to make it up in our condo gym.
Preventing & Managing Diabetes:
Ask your doctor for a fasting glucose test, control your weight and blood cholesterol. I don’t agree with all their dietary recommendations so I go to my D.O. for that information. But I do agree that smoking and second-hand smoke only exacerbate cardiovascular issues for people with diabetes.
High Blood Pressure: While salt is generally the big issue here, the other two factors of avoiding stress with meditation, toga, walking, etc. and limiting your alcohol intake are also important. (For women especially, too much alcohol is a high risk factor, so the AHA recommends only one drink for day.)
Healthy Eating: Of course, as a nutrition educator, I focus on food that is fresh, organic when possible, lightly cooked without deep-frying or grilling at high heats, lots of green veggies, etc.
Smoking: Since there are no nutrients in smoking and nothing good to say about this addiction, go for help if you want to erase this risk factor.
The warning signs for a heart attack include:
Chest discomfort that lasts for more than a few minutes and can include pressure, fullness, squeezing, or pain.
Discomfort in other parts of the upper body (arms, legs, back, neck, jaw or stomach),
Other signs: shortness of breath, cold sweat, nausea, light-headedness.
The American Heart Association also had a small insert about stroke. Considered a medical emergency because time lost is brain cells lost, these warnings are important:
Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg (especially on one side of the body).
Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.
Do Not Delay: Call 911 or EMS (emergency Medical Services)
Below the list is a fact that I did not know: Check the time any of these symptoms appear and take immediate action. A clot-busting drug can reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke, but only if given within three hours of the start of symptoms.
All this information can be found on the Internet and probably in brochures in the hospital or doctor’s office. Become familiar with risk factors and warning signs and take immediate action.