Did you know that Heart Disease is the number one killer in the United States? Preventing heart disease is the campaign of “Million Hearts.” The goal is to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes over the next few years.
What can you do to prevent heart attacks? Million Hearts has examined the research and found that there are five steps you can take to make a big difference in your risk. They are known as the “ABCS.”
A= Appropriate Aspirin Therapy for those who need it. Check with your doctor as to whether taking aspirin will reduce your risk for heart attacks.
B= Blood Pressure Control
One in three adults has high blood pressure and half of them don’t have it under control. Many have high blood pressure and don’t know it. Known as the “silent killer” it has no symptoms or warning signs. Get your blood pressure checked at least once a year. If it is high see your doctor and follow his/her recommendations. If you need medication take it. All of us can reduce our risk of high blood pressure by:
- Eating a healthy diet that limits sodium.
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Being physically active.
- Limiting alcohol use.
- Not smoking.
C= Cholesterol Management
One in three Americans has high cholesterol and 66% percent of those do not have it under control. Knowing and controlling your numbers can make a difference in your heart attack risk factors. Limit the amount of saturated fat, trans-fat and cholesterol you consume, to avoid raising your bad cholesterol levels. Using monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in place of saturated and trans-fat can lower blood cholesterol levels. Eating a high fiber diet can also help lower cholesterol.
Being physically active can increase your good cholesterol levels. Research has found that eating too many carbohydrates can lower good cholesterol for some people.
S= Smoking Cessation and Stress Reduction
Smoking greatly increases your risk of heart disease by injuring blood vessels and increasing the hardening of the arteries. Stopping smoking can reduce your risk. Don’t start and if you do smoke, quit.
Stress Reduction Use healthy methods of dealing with stress and keep your stress levels under control. Exercise, eating healthy, getting a good night’s sleep, relaxation techniques and meditation are ways that can help you deal with stress so that it does not overwhelm you.
Getting a biometric health screening can provide you with the clues needed as to determine your risk factors. Making changes in those risk factors can add up to preventing or delaying heart disease and stroke. Follow the “ABCS” to reduce your risk and join the campaign. You can find more information and join the campaign at http://millionhearts.hhs.gov/index.html
Author: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Miami Valley EERA
Reviewed by: Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.
Materials from the following websites downloaded on February 19, 2013: