February is Heart Month

Feb 3, 2011

A healthy diet and lifestyle are the best weapons you have to fight heart disease. Here’s the tough part, though — The choices we make are shaped by the choices we have. Individual behaviors – smoking,
diet, drinking, and exercise – matter for health. But making healthy choices isn’t just about self-discipline.

Some neighborhoods have easy access to fresh, affordable produce; others have
only fast food joints and liquor and convenience stores. Some have nice homes; clean parks;
safe places to walk, jog, bike or play; and well-financed schools offering gym, art, music and
after-school programs; and some don’t. What government and corporate practices can better ensure healthy spaces and places for everyone?

In spite of the challenges to living a healthy lifestyle, we must do what we can to promote and healthy diet and nutrition, exercise and fitness. As you make daily food choices, read nutrition labels and base your eating pattern on these recommendations:

  • Choose lean meats and poultry without skin and prepare them without added saturated and trans fat.
  • Select fat-free, 1% fat, and low-fat dairy products.
  • Cut back on foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans fat in your diet.
  • Cut back on foods high in dietary cholesterol. Aim to eat less than 300 mg of cholesterol each day.
  • Cut back on beverages and foods with added sugars.
  • Select and purchase foods lower in salt/sodium.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. That means no more than one drink per day if you’re a woman and two drinks per day if you’re a man.
  • Keep an eye on your portion sizes.

Know your signs and symptoms of a coronary event.

Often people affected aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath. May occur with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs. These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.

The American Heart Association, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the American Red Cross, and the National Council on Aging have launched a new “Act in Time” campaign to increase people’s awareness of heart attack and the importance of calling 9-1-1 immediately at the onset of heart attack symptoms. Find the links hereExternal Web Site Icon.

This information is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Unnatural Causes. Find more info from the CDC here. For more information about health equity and Unnatural Causes, including 10 Things to Know about Health.

Con Alma Health Foundation - The Heart and Soul of Health in New Mexico

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