According to the American Heart Association, heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds. Fortunately, with early detection and education, we have the power to reduce the number of strokes and cardiac events by nearly 80 percent
The first step to early detection is to know your numbers. The American Heart Association recommends that you know five key numbers: total cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and body mass index (BMI). These numbers are important because they will allow you and your physician to determine your risk for developing cardiovascular disease.
Here at Westfield Premier Physicians, your physician will help develop a year-round health and wellness plan focused on preventive care. Transitioning from a traditional insurance-based healthcare model to a direct primary care practice has allowed us to spend more time with our patients; allowing for a better understanding of your health risks and managing chronic conditions. Each of our Care Packages includes a comprehensive health risk assessment, along with an annual wellness exam.
In addition to developing a long-term wellness and/or chronic condition management plan, you can take immediate steps to impact your heart health. The American Heart Association has outlined 7 Steps for Action:
- Manage Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. To manage blood pressure, you should:
- Eat a heart-healthy diet, which includes reducing sodium
- Get regular physical activity and maintain a healthy weight
- Manage stress, limit alcohol and avoid tobacco smoke
- Control Cholesterol
High cholesterol contributes to plaque, which can clog arteries and lead to heart disease and stroke. When you control your cholesterol, you are giving your arteries their best chance to remain clear of blockages. Eating a heart-healthy diet is one of the best ways to control cholesterol. Learn what you should and shouldn’t eat.
- Reduce Blood Sugar
Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose (or blood sugar) that our bodies use for energy. Over time, high levels of blood sugar can damage your heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves. The following tips can help reduce your blood sugar:
- Reduce consumption of simple sugars that are found in soda, candy and sugary desserts
- Get regular physical activity! Moderate physical activity directly helps your body respond to insulin
- Take medications or insulin if it is prescribed for you
- Get Active
Aim for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity (such as brisk walking or biking) about five days each week. Alternately, one to two longer workout sessions (about 2 hours) on the weekend can be equally beneficial, according to a recent study.
- Eat Better
A healthy diet is one of your best weapons for fighting cardiovascular disease. Try these tips:
- Track what you eat with a food diary
- Eat vegetables and fruits
- Eat unrefined fiber-rich whole-grain foods
- Eat fish twice a week
- Cut back on added sugars and saturated fats
- Lose Weight
When you shed extra fat and unnecessary pounds, you reduce the burden on your heart, lungs, blood vessels and skeleton. Check out this list of Tips to Lose Weight.
- 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. Visit the American Heart Association’s Quit Smoking Web site for tools and resources.
We encourage you to talk to your physician about how to take action for better heart health. As always, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions, comments or concerns. We love hearing from you!