Cameron Thomasson, NP
These facts might surprise you: 90% of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease or stroke, and heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalization for South Carolinians over the age of 65. To help women take control of their heart health, Cameron Thomasson, NP, Palmetto Heart, offered a few simple guidelines.
- Take aspirin, if indicated and recommend by your doctor.
- Remember, blood pressure control is very important.
- Know and control your cholesterol numbers.
And for the “s” in our “ABCs”: Say no to smoking.
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet. A diet of high fat and cholesterol increases your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Six out of 10 adults are overweight or obese, placing them at a substantial risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Avoiding fast food and shopping in the outside parameters of the grocery store is a great place to begin.
- Exercise on a regular basis. Find a type of exercise that you enjoy doing. Your goal should be to do some type of physical activity for 30-45 minutes per day, at least five days a week. Inactive people are twice as likely to develop coronary heart disease as those who are physically active. Walking during your lunch break can provide lasting benefits to your cardiovascular wellness.
- Establish a relationship with your primary care doctor. Know your risk factor and talk about them. Know your basic health numbers – blood pressure, heart rate, lipid profile and body mass index.
- Sleep (also an “s”) is important to maintaining a healthy heart. According to the National Sleep Foundation, all adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Allow one hour before bed to create a nighttime routine that does not involve screen time. Reading, journaling, hot baths or meditation are great ways to relax your mind and body.
Taking control of your heart health can be done by paying attention to primary risk factors – blood pressure, obesity, smoking, physical inactivity – and fighting them off by taking action against them with simple steps.
Prisma Health has a quick online heart risk assessment, or quiz, that anyone can take to understand their individualized risk. Complete the heart risk assessment by visiting PalmettoHealth.org/HeartQuiz
. For further questions about your heart health and what you can do to decrease your risk of heart disease, contact your doctor.
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