Be Heart Smart
Heart disease is America's number one killer and is caused by a buildup of cholesterol, plaque and other fatty deposits in the heart's arteries. When they become clogged so blood flow gets blocked, a heart attack can occur. Half of all Americans have cholesterol levels that are too high. You can reduce cholesterol by eating healthful foods, losing weight if you need to and exercising. Your doctor and nurses can help you set up a plan for reducing cholesterol.
You can reduce your risk of heart attack. Start by becoming aware of your risk factors the personal characteristics and habits that increase your chances of developing heart disease. Some you can't change or control; some you can, by making a few changes in your daily habits.
What should I eat?
Low-fat, low-cholesterol foods including:
- Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, rice, pasta, beans and peas.
Lean red meats and poultry without skin (choose up to 6 total ounces per day).
- Low-fat or skim milk dairy products.
- Lean fish and shellfish.
- Nuts and seeds in limited amounts.
- Unsaturated vegetable oils like canola, olive, safflower and sunflower oils.
What should I limit?
- Whole milk, cream, ice cream, butter, egg yolks and cheese.
- Saturated oils like coconut oil, palm oil and palm kernel oil.
- High-fat processed meats and fatty red meats that aren't trimmed.
- Solid fats like shortening, soft margarine, lard and, of course, fried foods.
- Use a rack to drain off fat when you broil, roast or bake. Broil instead of pan-frying.
- Don't baste with drippings; use wine, fruit juice or marinade.
- Cut all the fat you can and take all the skin off chicken and turkey.
- Use a vegetable oil spray to brown or sauté foods.
- Serve bigger portions of pasta, rice, beans and vegetables.
- Use low-fat cottage cheese, part-skim milk mozzarella and other low-fat/nonfat cheeses.
About 61 million American adults are now 20 percent or more over their ideal weight. People who are more than 20 percent over their ideal body weight are more likely to develop heart disease and stroke, even if they have no other risk factors Excess weight puts more strain on the heart. It can raise blood pressure and blood cholesterol and lead to diabetes.
If youre not in the habit of being physically active, the time to start is now. You can reduce high blood pressure, lose weight and reduce your cholesterol level when youre physically active.
Warning signals of a heart attack
Have you ever had a burning sensation in your chest and wondered if you were having a heart attack or heartburn? About a fourth of all heart attack victims die within one hour of their symptoms, because most of them don't get to the hospital in time. If you guess your chest pain is a bad case of indigestion, you could be gambling with your life. It's best to be safe and see your doctor.
There are ways to distinguish the two conditions:
- Heartburn Symptoms - Burning pain up and down the center of the chest, as if your chest was on fire. Often accompanied by a bitter taste in your mouth. The pain will likely worsen when you lie down. If the pain subsides after taking an antacid, it's probably heartburn.
- Heart Attack Symptoms - Pressure, squeezing or pain through the center of the chest, but may radiate to the shoulders, neck, jaw, arms or upper back. May be accompanied by shortness of breath, sweating dizziness, nausea or vomiting. The pain may be brought on by exertion, but doesn't subside when you stop.
If you suspect that you are having a heart attack, call an ambulance immediately. Doctors suggest chewing and then swallowing two aspiring immediately. Recent research has shown this simple approach increases blood flow and cuts the risk of death in half.
Excessive, stress can cause serious strain on the heart.
Below are some ways to reduce stress:
- Lower your blood pressure by eating right. Click here
- Take 15 to 20 minutes a day to sit quietly and breath
- Try to learn to accept things you can't change. You don't
have to solve all of life's problems.
- Exercise regularly. Walk, swim, ride a bike or jog to
get your big muscles going.
- Limit caffeine (coffee, tea and soft drinks). Also limit alcohol and don't smoke.
If you think you are having a heart attack, dont wait! Call 911 or your emergency medical system immediately and get to a hospital.
How can I learn more?
Talk to your doctor, nurse or health care professional. Or call your local American Heart Association at (800) 242-8721. If you have high cholesterol, members of your family may also be at high risk for it. It's very important for them to make changes now.
Information provided by the American Heart Association More information is available on their Web site located at www.americanheart.orgTop