Tuesday, February 19

Stay a Beat Ahead of Heart Disease

by JCC Association and Club One

Earlier this month, JCC Banter Blog guest writer Jessica Blackport told us about National Heart Month, celebrated each February to raise awareness of heart health.

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of both women and men in the United States, so it’s important to know how to fight it. 

The cardiovascular system consists of your heart and all the blood vessels in your body. The heart pumps blood through arteries to deliver oxygen. The veins carry blood back to the heart to deliver waste products (e.g., carbon dioxide).

Arteries can be damaged by smoking, high blood pressure and diabetes. Fatty materials and other substances are sent to the damaged area (a response to healing). When left unchecked, damage continues to occur, causing the arteries to narrow and leading to a heart attack or stroke.

Understanding your level of personal risk level is crucial. Learn these best practices to help avoid a cardiovascular event.

Know your numbers:  Make sure you know your weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol numbers and your correlating level of risk.

Don’t smoke or use tobacco products: If you only do one thing, stop smoking.  If you don’t smoke, don’t start, but do start moving.

Be active: How much activity do you get each week? Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate activity a week. It will help you manage your weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol. 

Know your family history: Research your family history to determine your genetic risks. Knowing your inherited risk could save your life.

Get checked regularly: Get an annual checkup that consists of measuring at least your weight and waist circumference, blood pressure, cholesterol and fasting glucose. Discuss your results and, if necessary, a plan of action with your doctor.

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