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February is National Heart Month

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Although heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, it is also preventable and controllable. Since February is American Heart Month, we wanted to join the CDC and the American Heart Association in providing helpful tips for better heart health.

Did you know?

  • Each year, about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack.
  • In the United States, 600,000 people die each year from heart disease, which is one out of every four deaths.
  • Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, costs the United States $312.6 billion each year, including the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity.
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America for both men and women.
  • Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, where no one doubts what’s happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before getting help.

The term “heart disease” refers to several types of heart conditions. The most common type in the U.S. is coronary heart disease (also known as coronary artery disease), which occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. Coronary heart disease can cause heart attack, angina, heart failure, and arrhythmia’s.

Although the situation is admittedly alarming, there is good news—heart disease is preventable and controllable. Some health conditions and lifestyle factors can put people at a higher risk for developing heart disease. You can help prevent heart disease by making healthy choices and managing preexisting medical conditions.

Plan for Prevention

  • Eat a healthy diet. Choose healthful meal and snack options to ward off heart disease and associated complications, including stroke. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Adults should have at least five servings each day. Also, eat foods that are low in saturated fat, Trans fat, and cholesterol. (One way to do this is to eat plenty of fiber.) Limit salt or sodium, which can lower blood pressure. For more information on healthy diet and nutrition, visit the CDC’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Program website.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese could increase your risk of heart disease. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI). Doctors sometimes also use waist and hip measurements to calculate body fat.
  • Exercise regularly. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The Surgeon General recommends that adults should engage in moderate-intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week.
  • Monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure often has no symptoms, so be sure to check yours on a regular basis.
  • Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking greatly increases the risk for heart disease, among many other problems. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quit as soon as possible.
  • Limit alcohol use. Avoid drinking excess alcohol, which can increase blood pressure. Men should have no more than two drinks per day, and women, no more than one.
  • Check your cholesterol. Your health care provider should routinely test your cholesterol levels at least once every five years.
  • If applicable, manage your diabetes. Monitor blood sugar levels closely, and talk with your doctor about treatment options. To avoid diabetes, maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen.
  • Take necessary mediation. If your doctor has prescribed medication to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, follow his or her recommendations.
  • Familiarize yourself with Danger Signs and act quickly if you suspect heart attack or stroke.

Heart Attack Warning Signs

  • Chest Discomfort
  • Discomfort in Other Parts of the Body
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Breaking out in a Cold Sweat
  • Nausea and/or Lightheadedness

Stroke Warning Signs (Spot a Stroke FAST)

  • Face Drooping -Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
  • Arm Weakness-Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech Difficulty-Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “the sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • Time to call 911-If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 and get them to the hospital immediately.

Beyond F.A.S.T. – Other Symptoms You Should Know

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the leg
  • Sudden confusion or trouble understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Cardiac Arrest Signs

  • Sudden Loss of Responsiveness – Victim won’t respond to tapping on his or her shoulder.
  • Interruption of Normal Breathing -The victim does not take a normal breath when you tilt the head up and check for at least five seconds.

Fast action can save lives — maybe your own. If you experience any of the above signs and symptoms or witness someone else doing the same, remember that minutes matter! When in doubt, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Don’t wait more than five minutes to call 911 or your emergency response number.

When active shooter incidents or other disasters strike, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. The Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services is a convenient and affordable solution to all of the training needs of your building(s). Choosing our service cuts property management training-related costs by 90% and saves you over 50% compared to conventional training! More importantly, IT SAVES LIVES.

Stroke Awareness Month Part 2

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Part 2 of a 2-Part Series

National Stroke Awareness Month is an annual event held each May since 1989, designed to make Americans aware that they may be able to “Save the Life” of a person experiencing a stroke…be it a co-worker, friend, neighbor or family member. In this second part of our two-week series about stroke awareness, we will cover the ways you can raise awareness about stroke prevention and treatment and how to identify and eliminate risk factors.

Over the years, public education campaigns have been conducted during May to increase awareness of different aspects of stroke that directly affect specific populations, such as women or those at high risk for stroke. Today, National Stroke Association continues educating the public through campaigns such as the Faces of Stroke℠ and by creating easy-to-use tools and resources that initiate individuals and groups to raise awareness on a local level.

According to Samaritan Stroke Services, risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, atrial fibrillation and smoking.

“If stroke or other risk factors run in your family, there’s a higher chance you could be at risk too,” says Karen Phillips, RN and clinical coordinator for Samaritan Stroke Services. “By talking to your doctor and taking preventative measures, you’ll have a much better chance of avoiding a stroke.”

What can you do this May to raise awareness about stroke prevention and treatment?

  1. Familiarize yourself with the emotional, physical and financial impacts that strokes have on our country.
  2. Influence others to improve their health by sharing personal stories of how stroke affects lives.
  3. Talk to legislators and thought leaders about how their decisions can positively affect survivors throughout their recovery.

What Can You Do to Lower Your Chance of Having a Stroke?

  • People with a family history of stroke are more likely to have a stroke. If you have such a history of stroke, let your doctor know.
  • Prevent and control high blood pressure
  • Prevent and control diabetes.
  • Eat healthy food
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise
  • Abstain from using tobacco
  • Do not overindulge in alcohol (Don’t drink more than two drinks per day on average for men or more than one drink per day on average for women).
  • Treat atrial fibrillation.

The key to surviving a stroke is awareness and prompt medical attention. “Stroke does not have to be as debilitating as we once believed,” says James Meschia, M.D., director of Mayo Clinic’s Primary Stroke Center. “However, obtaining prompt medical attention is critical so the effects of a stroke can be limited and the patient’s condition can be managed to prevent further damage and improve recovery.”

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