Healthy Hearts in Roanoke, VA – Make Yourself Healthier!

The Roanoke Health District leads the Commonwealth in prevalence of stroke and is second in the state  in occurrence of heart disease.  African-American women aged 35 – 74 have the second-highest mortality rate due to cardiovascular disease, second only to African-American men.  According to the America Heart Association, heart disease and stroke account for 28.5% of all female deaths in Virginia, meaning that about 23 women in the Commonwealth die from heart disease and stroke every single day.  Heart disease alone is the second leading cause of death in Virginia, claiming the lives of nearly 7,000 Virginia women in 2009.So, what can YOU do to decrease your risk?  Here are some preventive measures that will help!

1.  Exercise regularly
No matter what kind of activity you’re engaging in, getting your heart rate up and keeping it there for at least 30 minutes every day is an easy way to lower your risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke.  This type of activity works cardiac muscles, improves blood flow, and strengthens blood vessels.

2.  Maintain and healthy body weight
We all struggle with weight issues from time to time.  Starting with a healthy diet that’s high in proteins, low in saturated fats and cholesterol, low in sodium, and containing plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables is a great start toward attaining and maintaining a healthy weight.  Healthy weight status in adults is assessed by calculating body mass index (BMI), which indicates the amount of a person’s body fat.  Any adult with a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese, while those with a BMI of 25 – 29.9 is considered overweight.  Normal weight (lowest weight-related risk of heart disease and stroke) is a BLI of 18 – 24.9.

3. Go easy on the alcohol.
Excessive alcohol use increases the risks for high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.  Enjoy your drinks, but do so in moderation to promote heart health.

4.  Prevent and control high blood pressure
The simple changes in your lifestyle like exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet can help to reduce high blood pressure and keep blood pressure at appropriate levels. Check your blood pressure regularly and consult with your doctor if your blood pressure is elevated (anything over the normal range of 120/80)

5.  Prevent and control diabetes
People with diabetes are at greater risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Ask your doctor what steps you can take to reduce your risk if you have diabetes.

Be healthy!  Be happy!