President Lyndon Johnson declared the first American Heart Month in 1964. Ever since, February has been dedicated to cardiovascular health.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Every year, one in four deaths are caused by heart disease. But the good news? Heart disease can be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create opportunities for people to make healthier choices.
You can make healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease. To lower your risk:
-Watch your weight,
– Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke
– Control your cholesterol and blood pressure
– If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
– Get active and eat healthy – try to exercise at least three to five times a week even if it is only walking for 15 minutes at a time to get started.
The Fayette County Health Department is available to everyone and offers several options to help people control their weight, and check their blood pressure and cholesterol. To help with weight and healthy eating, Fayette Fat Fighters is every Monday night, weigh-in is from 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and class is 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. It is a group where people get lots of support, encouragement and education on how to eat healthy. It is not a diet but learning how to change our lifestyles to improve our health. People have lost anywhere from 10 to 95 pounds.
Eating the right foods is an important part of our health. You need a variety of fresh vegetables and fruit. The brighter in color the healthier they are for you. Leafy greens for salads like spinach and kale are excellent choices. Canned vegetables low in sodium, and frozen vegetables without added butter and sauces. Fresh fruits are good and try to buy what is in season to help keep cost down.
Look for fat-free and low-fat milk products. When buying breads and cereal, choose ones that have whole grain as the first ingredient. Choose lean cuts of meat and other foods with protein, such as turkey and chicken without skin, pork – leg, shoulder and tenderloin. Beans, lentils and peas, eggs, nuts and seeds. Cut back on saturated fat and look for products with no trans fats. Vegetable oil like canola, olive and peanut oil are good choices. Use non-stick cooking spray rather than butter. For salad dressings choose light or fat free or even make your own at home.
You can have your cholesterol checked once a year at no charge. That test includes the glucose testing also. You just need to call and schedule an appointment to have the test done and be sure you do not eat or drink for 12 hours before the test.
The health department is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day if you want your blood pressure checked. You can just walk in and a nurse is available to check your pressure and we keep record of it for you. You can walk in as needed.
So if you are interested in either cholesterol screening, blood pressure screening or the Fayette Fat Fighters group, please call Jeannie Bihl or any of the nurses at the Health Department at 740-335-5910. There are no charges for any of these services.