From the desk of Kim Focht, Medical Assistant Instructor:
February marks American Heart Month, a great time to commit to a healthy lifestyle and make small changes that can lead to a lifetime of a healthy heart. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women as well as men. Symptoms of heart attacks in men and women can be very different. For women, their pain may be more in the back region and for men, it can feel as if they have an elephant sitting on their chest and they may even blow the symptoms off as indigestion. It’s important to schedule regular physical exams even if you feel perfectly healthy. By setting goals to improve your heart health you can extend your longevity.
Begin by adding exercise to your daily routine. By walking 15 minutes daily a few times a week and increasing your time to 30 minutes, 3 times each week, you are taking steps to prevent heart disease.
Make Heart-Healthy Meals
Cook heart-healthy meals at home at least 3 times each week and make your favorite recipe lower sodium. The final step and an extremely important one is Take steps to quit smoking. If you currently smoke, quitting can cut down your risk of heart disease and stroke. Learn more at the CDC’s Smoking and Tobacco Use website.
Take Your Medicine
Take your medicines on time or, if you’re having side effects, ask your doctor for help. There are tools that can help you set heart-healthy goals that last a lifetime. Visit the Million Hearts website to find tools. Use the Million Hearts My Personal Health Progress guide to set realistic, achievable health goals.
Monitor Your Blood Pressure
Track your blood pressure using a Blood Pressure Wallet Card and share results with your doctor regularly. As a CPR instructor, I encourage everyone to take CPR and save a life. Please join us in encouraging everyone to wear red on Feb. 2 to show support for women’s heart health, I am sure heart disease has affected someone we all know. Spread the word!