Reducing Cardiovascular Risk Factors
When you go grocery shopping, take the time to read the nutrition facts labels on the food you purchase. Compare nutrients and calories in one food to those in another. The information may surprise you. Make sure that you aren't buying foods high in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium and added sugars!
Quitting smoking doesn't mean you'll automatically gain weight. And even if you do gain a few pounds, that's not as important as saving your life....and the lives of others. When people gain weight, it's usually because they start to eat more once they quit smoking. If you watch what you eat and stay physically active, you may not gain at all!
A healthful eating plan means more than choosing the right foods to eat. It's important to prepare foods in a healthy way. Some ways of cooking are better than others in cutting saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, added sugars and calories. At the same time, you want to get as much nutritional value as possible.
Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight can be a challenge. You may have tried to lose weight before without much long-term success. Be assured, you are not alone. There is no magic weight-loss formula that works for everyone. The key is to find a plan that works for you and provides the right balance of calories and nutrition with the appropriate amounts of physical activity.
It's important to learn how to recognize how stress affects you, learn how to deal with it, and develop healthy habits to ease your stress. What is stressful to one person may not be to another. Stress can come from happy events (a new marriage, job promotion, new home) as well as unhappy events (illness, overwork, family problems).
Smoking harms almost every tissue and organ in the body, including your heart and blood vessels. Smoking also harms nonsmokers who are exposed to second-hand smoke. If you smoke, you have good reason to worry about its effect on your health, your loved ones and others. Deciding to quit is a big step, and following through is just as important. Quitting smoking isn't easy, but others have done it, and you can too.
If you aren't in the habit of being physically active, you're probably being told you should start. That's because regular physical activity reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke. It also helps you reduce or manage other risk factors — high blood pressure, high cholesterol, excess weight and diabetes. But the benefits don't stop there. You may look and feel better, become stronger and more flexible, have more energy, and reduce stress and tension.
The American Heart Association recommends an eating plan that emphasizes intake of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains and includes low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, legumes (dried beans and peas), nontropical vegetable oils, nuts and seeds. It should limit intake of sodium, sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages and red meats.
If your doctor has suggested that you begin a physical activity program, follow that advice. The American Heart Association recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week. People who don't get enough physical activity are much more likely to develop health problems.
People who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop heart disease and stroke, even if they have no other risk factors. Obesity is unhealthy because excess weight puts more strain on your heart. It can raise blood pressure and cholesterol and can lead to diabetes. Losing weight is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of heart problems and other diseases.
Most foods in the grocery store have a nutrition facts label and list of ingredients. When you go grocery shopping, take the time to read the nutrition facts labels on the foods you purchase. Compare nutrients and calories in one food to those in another. The information may surprise you. Make sure you aren't buying foods high in calories, saturated and trans fats, sodium and added sugars!
A cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) program takes place in a hospital or in the community. Cardiac rehab is for patients who are getting better after heart problems or surgery. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to talk to your healthcare provider about how to get in a rehab program. The tools you need to get and stay healthy are in one place, and medical staff is on hand at all times. Rehab can do a lot to speed your recovery and reduce your chances of future heart problems.
Women & Heart Disease
Many people don't realize that women and men often experience heart attack differently. We tend to think of a heart attack as a dramatic, chest-clutching event. But for many women, the signs are more subtle. Some women may mistake them for symptoms of heartburn, the flu, or aging. This can be dangerous.
This program highlights the risks and symptoms of heart disease that are unique to women. The program also explores the role hormone replacement therapy plays in heart disease and discusses ways to treat and manage cardiovascular illness. Featured physicians include JoAnn Manson from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Richard Stein from Beth Israel Hospital in New York City and Jennifer Mieres from North Shore University Hospital in New York City.
Your digestive track breaks down the carbohydrates that you eat into glucose — a type of sugar — which gets absorbed into the blood. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body's cells absorb the glucose from the blood and use it or store it for energy. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn't make enough insulin or can't use its own insulin as well as it should, or both. This causes sugars to build up too high in your blood.