Heart disease is still the No. 1 cause of death for men and women in the United States. Hypertension or abnormally high blood pressure is preventable, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend small changes to take charge of your heart health.
Ways to prevent heart disease include monitoring sodium intake. Approximately 90 percent of Americans intake more sodium than is recommended for a healthy person. Reducing sodium intake will result in blood pressure decreasing within weeks on average for those with hypertension. The most common form of sodium is salt; however, some products that are marketed as having “no salt” may still contain sodium. The best way to know is by checking the food label. Additionally, make sure you’re consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables daily.
Take steps to quit smoking. Stopping smoking can take a while and possibly multiple attempts, but keep trying. If you are seeking help to quit smoking contact Sherry Hayman, Tobacco Cessation Nurse at the Health Department. She is available for cessation counseling and to help you reach your goal.
If you are already on medication for a condition such as hypertension, take your medication as prescribed. Following your doctor’s orders could result in better health outcomes. Not adhering to orders could result in the medications not working, or potentially worse health outcomes. It’s always best to discuss any concerns related to medication with your Doctor or Pharmacist.
Checking your blood pressure regularly can give you an idea of your heart health. The Health Department offers regular BP checks on an appointment basis. Call 740-992-6626 to schedule with a nurse. You can also track you blood pressure using the Check. Change. Control. Tracker from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association at http://www.ccctracker.com. Did you know last year the American Heart Association released new blood pressure guidelines lowering the guidelines for hypertension? The blood pressure guidelines were lowered from 140/90 to 130/80 mm Hg. The American College of Cardiology says the new guidelines account for complications that can occur at lower numbers and to allow for earlier intervention.
In honor of American Heart Month, schedule a visit with your doctor even if you are not sick. It is important to schedule a regular check up with your Primary Care Provider to discuss your health goals.
If you’d like to get involved in chronic disease prevention efforts in your community contact Laura Cleland, Creating Healthy Communities Project Director at the Meigs County Health Department, 740-992-6626 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Laura Cleland is the Creating Healthy Communities project director at the Meigs County Health Department.