February is Heart Health Month: Give your heart some love

Valentine’s Day may be over, but your ticker still needs some loving care.

(photo by Sutton Porter/courtesy of Laurie Edwards-Tate)

SAN DIEGO, February 21, 2017 — Valentine’s Day may be over, but your ticker still needs some loving care.

A human heart requires nurturing, attention and care if it is to be healthy and fully functioning.

Heart disease is the number one killer of both women and men in the United States.

According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, heart disease accounts for one out of every four deaths in the United States.

The proliferation of heart disease in the U.S. has been taken notice of by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, resulting in a plan of action to help eliminate it through the establishment of their Million Hearts initiative.

Determined to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes in the U.S. by 2017, they have begun their educational program with an emphasis on lowering blood pressure.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention focus on the signs and symptoms which cause high blood pressure due to their belief that it is a major cause of heart disease.

It is estimated that 67 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure.

People with high blood pressure, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention further explains, are 3 times more likely to die from heart disease than those with normal blood pressure.

The Office of Disease Prevention, U.S. Health and Human Services Agency, offers these suggestions for living a heart healthy lifestyle for the entire family:

-Eliminate salt by using salt substitutes such as spices
-Encourage physical activity at home and during school
-Keep weight at a normal level
-Control cholesterol and blood pressure
-Consume alcohol in moderation
-Eat a healthy diet

Consuming foods which are low in fat and cholesterol, while focusing on eating fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains could go a long way to reducing blood pressure and maintaining a healthy heart.

(image via pixabay)

Smoking cessation is another key factor in maintaining a heart health, preventing heart disease, and reducing the risk for heart attacks.

Monitoring blood pressure routinely throughout the year while under the supervision of a health care professional is extremely important.

First establish a baseline blood pressure reading, then follow up with periodic monitoring, to measure the effects of any progress made while on by choosing a heart healthy lifestyle.

The very real and personal cost of refusing to pay attention to heart health is very high, as it will certainly undermine long-term health and quality of life.

“A heart attack feels like a hand squeezing your heart….it’s like the worst Charley horse you can imagine-in your heart,” lamented a long-term smoker named Roosevelt, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The American Heart Association offers warning signs for the onset of a heart attack, which, if experienced, would require immediate medical attention:

-Discomfort in other areas of the upper body
-Shortness of breath
-Other signs, such as nausea and sweating

It is important to note that any warning sign or combination thereof could last a few minutes, come and go; or, it could feel as if there is pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

Oftentimes heart attack symptoms for women can be quite different than for men. To learn more about this critical issue, go to goodforwomen.org.

The best way to maintain heart health is by being proactive and practicing good prevention measures.

Keeping the human heart always in mind, whether on Valentine’s Day or beyond, will boost the odds that any heart which might be broken will not be your own!

Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!

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Laurie Edwards-Tate
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California, was among the first to recognize the growing need for services allowing individuals to remain independent created by the aging of America including the Baby Boomer generation, now being called the “Silver Tsunami.” It is the Baby Boomers who are rapidly redefining what aging and growing older means and looks like in America today. Now celebrating its 28th year in business, AYHF is among San Diego County’s Top Women-Owned Businesses and Fastest Growing Businesses, and enjoys a reputation for upholding the highest possible standards among its employees and its emphasis on customer service. Edwards-Tate is a valued contributor to the public dialogue on current issues and challenges in the home care industry, and serves in leadership roles on the Home Care Aide Association of America Advisory Board and Private Duty Home Care Association Advisory Board, as well as the Home Care Aide Steering Committee of the California Association for Health Services at Home. Edwards-Tate is frequently interviewed in the media on healthy aging, caregiving, and health care topics. Follow Laurie and AYHF at www.atyourhomefamilycare.com; on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atyourhomefamilycare, and Twitter at @AYHFamilycare