Tag Archives: heart disease

Managing Your Blood Pressure

Managing blood pressure can be difficult, especially during the holidays and winter months. A change in routine, family visits, traveling, illness, holiday menus and financial concerns can all conspire to derail your best efforts at keeping chronic conditions, like high blood pressure, under control.

If you are one of the millions of American adults with high blood pressure, it is vital to keep your blood pressure stable. Drastic changes can put you at risk for heart attack or stroke.

Here are three ways to control your blood pressure throughout the holiday season from the American Heart Association:

Be wary of decongestants
Decongestants are in many over-the-counter cold and flu medications, but they have some harmful side effects. They can raise blood pressure and decrease the effectiveness of some prescribed blood pressure medications. It’s best to use them for the shortest duration possible and avoid in severe or uncontrolled hypertension. Consider alternative therapies, such as nasal saline, intranasal corticosteroids, or antihistamines, as appropriate.

Keep track of medication
The winter months tend to bring an increase in both heart attacks and strokes. According to research from the Journal of the American Heart Association, a 4.2 percent increase in heart-related deaths occurs away from a hospital from December 25 through January 7.

“Factors like cold weather, sudden increase in activity like shoveling snow, stress and dietary indiscretion can contribute to a chain of events leading to more stress on the heart during the winter months, potentially triggering a heart attack or other cardiac event,” says Jorge Plutzky, M.D., director of Preventive Cardiology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a volunteer with the American Heart Association.

It is vital to keep track of your medication and take it as prescribed by your doctor to decrease chances of heart attack and stroke. The American Heart Association’s Check Change Control Tracker is one way to monitor your health, as it allows you to set up text message reminders, text in blood pressure readings, connect with volunteers or providers, and receive messages from volunteers or providers.

Maintain healthy eating habits
The holidays can be a bad influence on healthy eating habits. However, it is important to stay active during these times and continue eating healthy. While you are enjoying holiday feasts with family, be aware of sodium, often found in seasonal foods like bread, cheeses and prepared meats, which can increase blood pressure. Don’t feel like you can’t indulge a little, but make sure to incorporate healthy meals.

Staying active while traveling can also be a challenge. Try bringing simple exercise equipment like a jump rope or resistance band with you. Consider walking to sights or restaurants nearby, or finding a local park or indoor walking path.

For more information and tools about blood pressure management, visit heart.org/hbp.

Bayer’s Consumer Health Division, maker of Coricidin HBP, is a sponsor of the American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure website.

 

Go Red for Women Luncheon

Heart disease is the number one killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths every year. The warning signs are not the same for women as they are for men. They can include chest discomfort, shortness of breath, and discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Heart disease and stroke do not discriminate by age, ethnicity or background. It is important to know your numbers and do what you can to prevent permanent or fatal damage from both–even if it means going to the hospital at an inconvenient time to make sure everything is okay.

Learn more about how to stay heart healthy and your personal wellness by visiting your doctor and www.goredforwomen.org.

You can support the life-saving efforts of the American Heart Association by attending their Go Red for Women Luncheon on May 25 at 11 a.m at the Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Ijeoma N. Okogbue of Carilion Clinic Cardiology. The event will also include a fashion show by Macy’s, a networking reception with a silent auction, and heart-healthy living demos, education, and lunch.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit their website or call 540-989-2810.

Go Red and Be Healthy

February is also known as National Heart Health Month. It’s a hard truth, but heart disease is not picky, so men and women are both at risk. About 1 in 4 deaths are linked to heart disease, according to the American Heart Association. With that in mind, we’d like to take some time to discuss a few ways to eat and exercise in order to achieve a better lifestyle.

Track what you put into your body. Add color to your plate and make sure to get two servings of fruits and vegetables, but avoid the extra salt and sugar that is sometimes present in canned fruits and vegetables. Whole grains are a better option when faced with multiple choices. Fish and poultry products should be your first choices due to the omega 3 fatty acids within them, prepared without the skin and leaning towards salmon and trout when preparing fish. When wanting red meat, always check for the leaner cuts. Skim and 1% dairy products get you a step closer to a fat-free and low-fat diet. Sugary drinks are extremely bad for you, and you should ultimately try to cut them from your diet. You really want to rid yourself of saturated and trans fats, in order to replace them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Paying attention to serving sizes or cooking meals at home will help  keep you from overeating and not paying attention to your calorie intake.

push-ups-888024_1280Walking, stair climbing, swimming, and biking are all ways to increase heart health.
A good week of activity should typically include 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity at least five days per week or 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least three days a week. Of course, it is very important to speak to your doctor to create a routine that is safe and right for your body, health, and age.

Remember that everyone has to start somewhere, so if you can’t make each workout when you first start out, you’ll get there! Doing something is always better than doing nothing. Visit www.heart.org for more tips.

 

Written by Zoe Pierson