Hot Takes on Heart Health

by Joanna

Did you know...

  • In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.
  • 1 in 3 deaths are caused by cardiovascular disease.
  • According to the CDC: 239,000 people in Wisconsin have coronary heart disease.
  • Heart disease is often preventable.

Did you catch that last one? Heart disease is often PREVENTABLE!


February is American Heart Month. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's campaign called The Heart Truth aims to encourage people to take positive steps by joining together to engage in heart healthy lifestyles. These include things such as:

  • Using spices instead of salt on food
  • Get your heart rate up for at least 150 minutes per week
  • Work your muscles with strengthening movements at least twice a week
  • Manage stress
  • Aim for a healthy weight
  • Have a healthy blood pressure, cholesterol, and A1C (all of which can be done by working on the above)

Are you at risk for cardiovascular disease? First and foremost, it's important to talk to your doctor. There are typically no signs or symptoms of high blood pressure, dubbing it the "silent killer." And you can't tell what a person's cholesterol is just by looking at them. According to The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, here are 10 key questions to ask your doctor:

  1. What is my risk for heart disease?
  2. What is my blood pressure? What does it mean for me, and what do I need to do about it?
  3. What are my cholesterol numbers? (These include total cholesterol, LDL or "bad" cholesterol, HDL or "good" cholesterol, and triglycerides.) What do they mean for me, and what do I need to do about them?
  4. What is my body mass index (BMI) and waist measurement? Do they indicate that I need to lose weight for my health?
  5. What is my blood sugar level, and does it mean I'm at risk for diabetes?
  6. What other screening tests for heart disease do I need? How often should I return for checkups for my heart health?
  7. What can you do to help me quit smoking?
  8. How much physical activity do I need to help protect my heart?
  9. What is a heart healthy eating plan for me? Should I see a registered dietitian or qualified nutritionist to learn more about healthy eating?
  10. How can I tell if I'm having a heart attack?

If it helps, copy these questions down and bring them with you to your appointment. If you need help remembering what your doctor says, it is perfectly fine to bring someone with to your appointment.

Lastly, as a side note, a 21-year-old man in Arizona saved a woman's life by using CPR that he learned on an infamous episode of The Office.

And people say TV is useless! I beg to differ.

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