Greetings Friends,

Since   and 

I thought it apropos to discuss heart disease, #1 killer of women, and disproportionately in African-American women.

A new study shows women’s heart disease awareness is increasing (http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/109/5/573). The number of women aware that heart disease is the leading cause of death nearly doubled in the last 15 years. However, this knowledge still lags in minorities and younger women, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Awareness rates among African-American and Hispanic women remains well below that of Euro-American (Caucasian) women. Among age groups, women 25-34 years had the lowest rate of awareness at 44 percent. It is apparent that we need cultural and generational relevant messages about lifestyle and prevention strategies for heart disease.

How Old Is Your Heart?

Most Americans are not as young at heart as they may like to believe. More than three in four adults have a "heart age" that's greater than their chronological age, according to federal health officials (http://www.health.harvard.edu/). Your heart age depends on your blood pressure reading, smoking history, body mass index (BMI) and whether you have diabetes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created the heart age calculator as a simple way for people to understand their risk of heart attack and stroke.

Find out your heart age, and then consider your next move. Go to:

https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/cardiovasculardisease/heartage.html.

Image result for images of heart disease awareness month 

7 Tips to Prevent Heart Disease and Stroke 

The best prevention against heart disease and stroke is to understand the risks. The greatest risk is ignorance or misinformation. Take responsibility for your health:

Know your risks.

The most influential risk factor for cardiovascular disease is age – the older you are, the greater your risk. The second is your genetic make-up. Although everyone is excited by the scientific progress in genomics research, conclusive gene tests are still in their infancy. But, as I tell our medical students, “A good family history is a poor man’s gene test.” We have long known that if your parents, grandparents, or other relatives were afflicted with or died of heart disease, diabetes or stroke, your risk is much greater.

Don’t smoke or expose yourself to second-hand smoke.

The evidence is overwhelming that cigarette smoking and second-hand exposure to smoke increases the risks of heart disease, lung disease, and stroke, just to name a few.

Maintain a healthy blood pressure.

High blood pressure, called hypertension, is known as “the silent killer” as it goes without symptoms in most individuals. High blood pressure causes wear and tear of the delicate inner lining of the blood vessels. The higher the blood pressure (BP) the greater the risk. Heredity and increasing age raises the risks. Measuring blood pressures at home reflects more accurately your risk than having the blood pressure taken at a physician’s office. It may be worth the investment to get a cuff meter.

Monitor your cholesterol (blood lipids).

Abnormal or high blood lipids (fats) are a major contributor to cardiovascular disease. Your blood lipids include the LDL (bad cholesterol; remember as “Lousy cholesterol”), HDL (good cholesterol; remember as “Healthy cholesterol”) and triglycerides. Better to keep the LDL, decreased, and the HDL increased for optimum results.

Limit your calories.

Fad diets do not work. If any of them did, we all would be on THAT one, wouldn’t we? The obesity rate in Americans is alarming, contributing to a near epidemic of diabetes, which is a cardiovascular disease. If you have diabetes, your risk is the same as someone who already had a heart attack. Obesity is caused by consuming more calories than your body burns. Abdominal obesity is the major risk. Portion sizes and the amount of sugars in the American diet have dramatically increased over the past few decades. At the same time, the daily amount of exercise has been decreasing. Use portion control before you start eating and push away from the table before you are “full.”

Make exercise a daily habit.

The lack of exercise is contributing to the obesity epidemic in Americans. Studies indicate that walking two miles a day is optimal for overall health, and those two miles of walking do not have to be done all at once. Exercise does more than burn calories; it also activates genes that are beneficial to health in other ways. However, exercise alone cannot control or reduce your weight – you must also modify your diet.

Reduce stress.

Stress contributes to cardiovascular disease and, if severe, can cause a heart attack or sudden death. There are plenty of options that help reduce stress, such as regular exercise, adequate sleep, laughing, volunteering or attending spiritual services. Watching TV generally does not relieve, but can aggravate stress. Also, try to avoid situations and people who make you anxious or angry.


 

You are always in my thoughts,

ND Grace

Nationally Registered, ANM Board Certified Naturopath

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

(Arthur Ashe)