Feb. 13, 2013
This Valentine's Day, give a special gift to yourself or someone you love. Quit smoking;
Being smoke-free is important to heart health. This Valentine’s Day, give a special gift to yourself or someone you love. Quit smoking or encourage your loved ones to quit. Now’s the perfect time!
February 14 is Valentine’s Day—a day to celebrate love in its many forms. But did you know that nearly 50 years ago, February was designated as American Heart Month? During this month, we raise awareness about the risks for heart disease as well as healthy lifestyle changes that can reduce cardiovascular risks and promote healthy hearts.
Given that February is dedicated to celebrating love, caring, and heart health, it’s a great time to improve your own heart health or encourage loved ones to improve theirs by quitting smoking. About 130,000 cardiovascular disease deaths per year in the United States are attributable to smoking. Also, approximately 26% of heart attacks and 12–19% of strokes are attributable to smoking. The Surgeon General has concluded that cigarette smoking greatly increases one's risk for heart disease. Being smoke-free and eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke is important to heart health.
Quitting smoking could be the best Valentine’s Day present you can give to your family or your loved ones.
Smoking and Heart Health
When you smoke or are exposed to secondhand smoke, cells that line your body's blood vessels react to the poisons in tobacco smoke almost immediately. Your heart rate and blood pressure go up. Your blood vessels grow narrower. Chemical changes caused by tobacco smoke also make blood more likely to clot. Clots can form and block blood flow to your heart.Smoking is one cause of dangerous plaque buildup inside your arteries. Plaque clogs and narrows your arteries. This can trigger chest pain, weakness, heart attack, or stroke. Plaque can rupture and cause clots that block arteries. Completely blocked arteries can cause sudden death. Smoking is not the only cause of these problems, but it makes them much worse.Secondhand Smoke and Heart Health
Tobacco smoke hurts anyone who breathes it. When you breathe secondhand smoke, platelets in your blood get sticky and may form clots, just like in a person who smokes. Research shows that even spending time in a smoky room could trigger a heart attack. There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Even brief exposure can be harmful to your health, especially if you are at risk for heart disease.
Quitting Saves Lives
You have years of life to gain and love to give by quitting smoking. Your risk for heart attack drops sharply just 1 year after you quit smoking. In fact, even if you've already had a heart attack, you cut your risk of having another one by a third to a half if you quit smoking. And because secondhand smoke also affects others and can increase their risk for heart attack and death, quitting smoking can help protect your loved ones. Make an effort during this heartfelt holiday to stop smoking and/or to encourage your loved ones to stop smoking.
Support to Quit
For free quit support, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).This service provides free support and advice from experienced counselors, a personalized quit plan, self-help materials, the latest information about cessation medications, and more.
Submitted by Teresia Huddleston MSRD LD CDEToo much sodium or salt is bad for your health. It can increase your blood pressure and your risk for a heart attack or stroke. Diabetes also increases the risk for heart attack or stroke. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans’ suggest that all Americans limit their sodium intake. There are strict guidelines for people over the age of 50 or with chronic health problems such as high blood high pressure, diabetes, heart disease, etc.
They should use no more than 1,500 mg of sodium daily. Most people get an average of 3,300 mg of sodium per day. That is twice the suggested amount.
The National Institute of Health suggests the following tips for reducing sodium in our diet:
Buy fresh, plain, frozen or canned ”no salt added” vegetables Use fresh poultry, fish and lean meats rather than canned or processed types Use herbs, spices and salt-free seasoning blends in cooking and at the table Cook rice, pasta, and hot cereal without added salt Choose convenience foods that are lower in salt: cut back on frozen dinners, pizza, package meals, canned soups and salad dressings Rinse canned foods (vegetables, tuna, etc.) to remove some of the sodium When available buy the low sodium or reduced sodium or no salt added versions of foods Choose ready to eat breakfast cereals that are lower in sodiumAim for no more than one teaspoon of total sodium per day. Use less if you have on going health problems. This includes salt that you add during cooking, at the table and the sodium already present in the food. An easy tip to remember: no more than 500 mg of sodium at each meal.
Sodium is found in many foods, some may surprise you. Most of these are staples in our daily diet. The Centers for Disease Control found the following as the top five sources of sodium in the American diet.
1. Breads and rolls - 7.4% of sodium comes from breads. We are a nation of bread lovers. It adds up and portion control must be remembered.2. Cold cuts and cured meats - 5.1% of sodium intake. Most store bought “cold cuts” contain 200 mg of sodium per slice. One slice of bacon contains 180 mg of sodium!3. Pizza - adds 4.9% of our sodium intake. It all adds up, processed meats, canned sauce, cheese and don’t forget the crust.4. Fresh and processed chicken - 4.5% comes in the form of chicken nuggets, sandwiches and fried chicken.5. Soups - canned soups add 4.3% to our sodium intake. One cup of canned soup may contain 1000 mg; the reduced sodium still contains about 400 mg per one cup serving.Salt is salt: Kosher salt, sea salt, table salt - all contain sodium. You are not decreasing sodium intake by using a different type of salt. Also seasoned salt, garlic salt, onion salts are mainly salt. To season food, use salt-free seasonings, herbs and spices. Remember to follow your health care providers’ suggestions. Do not use salt substitutes unless approved by your health care provider; it may interfere with certain medications.
Sources: www.nhlbi.gov /www.cdc.gov
Sweating. Pressure. Nausea. Jaw pain. Believe it or not, these are all symptoms of a heart attack in women. They are also symptoms that women often brush off as the flu, stress or simply feeling under the weather – which could put their lives in jeopardy.
“I really couldn’t believe this happened to me,” says survivor Amy Heinl. “I thought of myself as a healthy person, and was exercising when [my heart attack] happened.”
Whether it’s disbelief, lack of awareness or misdiagnosis, dismissing the symptoms of a heart attack can delay critical, life-saving actions. Being able to recognize the warning signs and act quickly, however, can save a life.
Causes of a heart attack in women
Heart attacks occur when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked by a buildup of plaque in coronary arteries. While the initial causation can often be pinned on the usual suspects – heavy smokers, people with high-stress lifestyles, or those who are excessively overweight – the not-so-usual suspects can also be at high risk for heart attack.
“I think we all get used to doing too much and learning to ignore minor ailments or fatigue because that is what women are programmed to do,” says survivor Rekisha Harris. But because heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, it is imperative that women learn the warning signs and symptoms, see a doctor regularly, and learn their family history.
Symptoms of a heart attack:
Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
Shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort.
Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.As with men, the most common heart attack symptom in women is chest pain or discomfort. But it’s important to note that women are more likely to experience the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.
What to do during a heart attack
If you experience any of these signs or symptoms:
Do not wait to call for help. Dial 9-1-1, make sure to follow the operator’s instructions and get to a hospital right away.
Do not drive yourself or have someone drive you to the hospital unless you have no other choice.
Try to stay as calm as possible and take deep, slow breaths while you wait for the emergency responders.
Why it’s important to know the symptoms of a heart attack
Women who consider themselves healthy often misdiagnose the symptoms of a heart attack because they don’t think it could happen to them. That is why it’s crucial to learn about heart disease and stroke, know your numbers, live a heart-healthy lifestyle and be aware of the risk factors of heart disease.
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