Editor’s Note: This month we welcome Christine Kendle, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension Tuscarawas County, to Lehman’s Country Life. Christine is a wealth of information on healthy living in all its forms.
While February is typically thought of as the month filled with hearts and flowers for one’s sweetheart, it is also an important month for your very own heart – February is American Heart Month! And even though the month is almost over, it’s never too late to learn and adopt healthy habits for your lifestyle.
Heart disease and stroke are the two leading causes of death in America. One in three Americans suffer from high blood pressure. These factors have led to US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to launch the Million Hearts Initiative (http://millionhearts.hhs.gov/index.html). This initiative aims to prevent 1 million deaths from heart disease by the year 2017. They are already well underway with screenings and educational efforts.
Do you know your ABCS’s for heart disease prevention?
A – Aspirin for high risk patients
B – Blood pressure control
C – Cholesterol management
S – Smoking cessation
S – Stress Reduction
The Ohio State University Wellness Innovator offers these great ideas to tackle the ABCS’s and get heart healthy:
- Be active – engage in 30 minutes of activity 5 days per week.
- Sit less, and stand more!
- Stay tobacco free.
- Eat a well-balanced diet with a lot of whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
- Know your numbers (i.e. BMI, blood pressure and cholesterol). February is a great time to talk with your physician about your numbers and what they mean for your health.
- If you have high blood pressure and/or cholesterol, take your medication and consult with your healthcare provider to prevent a heart attack or stroke.
- Engage in strategies to de-stress. Take 5 slow deep breaths when tense, take a walk, do yoga, learn to say “no.”
- Eat oily fish, like salmon or tuna, twice a week.
- Limit alcohol use. The CDC recommends just 1 drink a day for women and 2 for men – 1 drink is equivalent to 4 oz. of wine, 1 beer, or 1 ½ oz. of liquor.
Decide today to make a heart-healthy lifestyle change for the people who love you and want you around for a very long time! Visit the Million Hearts Initiative or participate in one of Ohio State University Extension’s Million Hearts educational series to learn more about the ABCS’s of heart disease and get on your way to a healthier you!
Author: Christine Kendle, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension Tuscarawas County
Reviewed by: Melinda Hill, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension Wayne County