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Tue, Feb 16, 2016 at 08:00 AM

What you can do for your heart

We know that February is all about hearts. But February also is American Heart Month.

It is a reminder to pay a little more attention to the old ticker to ensure that it keeps on ticking. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. The month of February is dedicated to raising awareness about heart disease and sharing ways to prevent it. Educate yourself and get on track to better heart health. Even in the shortest month of the year there is time to do a lot to improve the critically important muscle that keeps us alive.

Tips for Heart Health

  • Read labels: Unhealthy fats can clog arteries. Salt can raise blood pressure. Sugar can pack on pounds. To avoid these risks for heart disease, read nutrition labels when you’re grocery shopping. Look for foods with unsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids and low percentages of sodium and sugar. If you don’t like reading labels, focus on foods without them, such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Get moving: Your heart needs exercise. Aim for 30 minutes a day, every day. Start with a brisk walk. You may be surprised at how much you enjoy it.
  • Know your numbers: If you don’t know your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers, make an appointment with your doctor to have them checked. Having high blood pressure or too much LDL cholesterol in your blood can put you at risk for heart disease. Being overweight also makes heart disease more likely. Work on changing your lifestyle and talk to your doctor for help getting you to heart healthy numbers in all three areas.
  • Determine to quit: Smoking harms the heart as well as the lungs. Kick the habit for good – not just for you but for your family and friends. Exposing loved ones to your smoke can trigger heart issues in them. Love your heart and your loved ones’ enough to stop smoking once and for all.

Not Just a Man’s Disease

It’s a common misconception that heart disease is a “man’s” disease. Heart disease affects more than 6 million American women, and another 37 million women are at risk for developing heart disease. It is the number one killer of women and is responsible for one in three deaths in women annually.

Diagnosing a heart attack in women is more difficult than men. Women frequently report milder symptoms like shortness of breath, unusual fatigue and mild chest discomfort. Although chest pain or pressure is the most common symptom of a heart attack, sufferers may experience a diversity of symptoms.

Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Get Help for Your Heart

If you have not taken the best care of your heart, help is nearby. Marshall Medical Centers has three cardiologists on staff to get you on the fast track to heart health. Visit our website at to find a list of physicians. Your heart will thank you. So will your loved ones.

Did you know that your heart health even affects wound healing? Heart health is critical to wound healing because problems with the heart and vessels obstruct blood flow, oxygen and nutrition to a wound. Millions of Americans suffer from chronic bedsores or wounds aggravated by diabetes.

If you are one of many people who have a wound that hasn’t healed in 30 days, call Marshall Wound Healing Center to find out about their many treatment options for non-healing wounds.

Rose Myers is a journalist working in Marshall Medical Centers’ marketing department.