A healthy heart and you

Posted on: February 10th, 2012 by sdavis

By Steven Fuchs, Pharm. D.

February is National Heart Month.  During this month, American’s should focus on preventing heart disease and related deaths.  As you may know, approximately 2,200 deaths per day are related to heart disease.   These deaths affect both men and women.  In fact, 1 in 4 of women’s death is caused by heart disease.  Since heart disease touches almost everyone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has launched the Million HeartsTM campaign.  The goal of this campaign is to help prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over the next four years. 

The backbone to a healthy heart is as simple as remembering your “ABCS.”  “A” stands for aspirin therapy, “B” stands for blood pressure control, “C” stands for cholesterol management, and “S” stands for smoking cessation. 

Taking an aspirin every day can build a healthy heart

Aspirin therapy has been used for years to help prevent heart attacks and strokes.  Individuals at risk should take an aspirin every day.  Please contact your physician or pharmacist to see if you should start an aspirin regimen. 

Maintaining a healthy heart through blood pressure control

Blood pressure control is key to keeping your heart healthy.  Elevated blood pressure puts stress on your heart leading to increase fat formation and increased risk of heart attack.  Elevated blood pressure also causes damage to blood vessels in the brain which can cause strokes.  There are several good habits to develop that can help you stay protected.  It is recommended that everyone gets approximately 150 minute of cardiovascular exercise every week.  With our warmer than normal winter and spring fast approaching, a brisk walk after work or in the morning can help you reach this goal.  Not only does exercise help, but limiting your sodium intake to less than 4.2 grams per day can help.  You may wonder how to do this.  Just remember the salt rainbow:  pink salts are lunch meats, black salt is soy sauce, yellow salt is mustard, green salt are pickles and other pickled food, red salt includes ketchup and other canned tomato products, and brown salt include soups and gravies.  By limiting these products and striving for the exercise goal, you can be on the path to a healthy blood pressure. 

Building a healthy heart through cholesterol control

Cholesterol control is another important step to a healthy heart.  Exercise is important for lowering your bad cholesterol, LDL, and raising your good cholesterol, HDL.  Another important aspect is diet.  To maintain healthy cholesterol, it is recommend to limit your saturated and trans fats as well as limiting your cholesterol to 200 mg per day.   Also, it is recommended to get your cholesterol checked at least every five years. 

Quit smoking to build a healthy heart

Stopping smoking is also important for protecting your heart.  There are many programs and medications to help you with this choice when you are ready.  Some of the medications are over the counter, and others will require a visit with your physician.  CarePro pharmacists are trained to help you make this life change and are excited to work with you to reach this goal.

These four simple steps can dramatically help improve your heart health.  If you are unsure about where you fall in the risk spectrum, contact your local CarePro pharmacy.  They can check your cholesterol and blood pressure and perform a total risk analysis.  Then they can help you develop a plan to move forward.

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