February is designated as American Heart Month. And while stores are filled with heart-shaped chocolates and red and pink floral arrangements, the hearts we are referring to aren’t metaphorical. Also, I’m not talking about heartworm.
Don’t even get me started on that subject. American Heart Month is all about the organ that keeps all of us alive! Heart disease affects men and women alike. So take care of heart matters in February and all year long.
Shockingly, according to the CDC, one American dies from a coronary event every minute in this country. Not so surprisingly, the best defense against heart disease and Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack) is to following a daily regimen that includes a healthy diet and plenty of exercise.
- Uncomfortable chest pressure or a squeezing sensation
- Discomfort in the arm, neck, or jaw
- Shortness of breath, cold sweats, or a general feeling of lightheadedness (That’s what I feel when someone pulls on my leash too hard. Take it easy, Pal!)
- Overwhelming, unusual, extreme fatigue.
What can you do to stay heart-healthy?
- Use the stairs instead of elevators. (First, check stair railings and make sure non-slip surfaces are present on each step.)
- Instead of jockeying for premium parking places, purposely park your vehicle away from the front door. I always laugh when I go to big-box retail warehouses. We park far away, and see silly people waiting in their car for five minutes while folks unload their carts, just to save a few steps.
- Track your physical activity by wearing a pedometer. Health experts suggest walking a minimum of 10,000 steps per day. If you’re bringing Fido along, remember that some of us have short legs! Fortunately, we also love to exercise them.
- Take advantage of free or discounted gym memberships offered by some insurance companies and/or employers.
- Follow a heart-healthy diet.
- Eat plenty of fiber. The best way to do this is to include plenty of fruits and vegetables at every meal. It’s also important to get excited about your food. Dried dog food again!! Yay! That’s 845 days in a row!
- Stop eating and drinking foods that contains refined sugar. Soda intake has been linked to increased risk of heart disease.
- Cut diet soda from your diet, as well. Some studies indicate that diet carbonated beverages also increase the risk of heart disease. Personally, I prefer clear, clean water in my bowl.
- Buy fresh ingredients at your local farmer’s market.
- Select organic products, whenever possible.
Additional tips and safety:
- Stock aspirin in your Go-Bag. Studies show that people who experience symptoms of a heart attack can chew an aspirin to reduce the severity of the episode.
- Limit your exposure to second-hand smoke. You’re inhaling tar for Pete’s sake!
- Try not to stress out. Most medical professionals agree that people who are under a lot of stress have an increased risk of heart disease.
- Take advantage of programs such as The Heart Truth, which provides tools for preventing and treating heart-related health problems.
- Take a CPR class, so the signs and symptoms of heart attack will become second nature. And don’t forget about CPR for dogs and cats!
While disaster planning for earthquakes, fires, and mudslides is a no-brainer, it is equally critical to prepare for smaller-scale but no less serious disasters such as heart disease, which claims millions of lives. So Go Red not just in February, but all year long.
When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact RJ Westmore, Inc. Our new Version 2.0 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. Visit RJWestmore.com for more information and remember to BE SAFE.