A: Did you know that February is Heart Month? Did you also know that Heart Disease has become the number one killer among American Women? What a sobering statistic! Heart disease has surpassed even cancer.
A sedentary lifestyle or being overweight is a big risk factor in having a heart attack or stroke. Other risk factors include
- a cholesterol level greater than 200mg/dL, a resting blood pressure higher than 120/80,
- smoking (even a few cigarettes a day),
- diabetes regardless of whether it is Type I or Type II
- close blood relative such as your father or sister with a history or heart disease or stroke.
Cutting your risk starts with a visit to your physician and finding out two very important numbers. These include your resting blood pressure and cholesterol level. The key point to remember is: the lower your levels, the lower your risk.
Once you have received this information, you can then formulate a plan such as a diet that includes eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, lowering or cutting out added salt or sodium, and eating less saturated fat and cholesterol. You could also engage in moderate level physical activities and begin a weight management program if you’re overweight. Always check with your physician before starting a weight loss program.
Remember, keeping your cholesterol and blood pressure in check, eating healthy, keeping active, and maintaining a healthy weight are all important in minimizing your risk for heart disease.
Information provided by Clint Luterman, 21st Century Rehab, Dallas County Hospital, 610 10th St., Perry, 465-7672.