By YMCA of Greater Monmouth County
February is American Heart Month, and as a leading community-based organization committed to improving the nation’s health, the YMCA of Greater Monmouth County urges everyone in the community to get a blood pressure screening. High blood pressure is often referred to as “The Silent Killer” because there are typically no warning signs or symptoms.
Killing about one-in-four women, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for men and women. High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. About half of Americans (49%) have at least one of these three risk factors. Several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at a higher risk for heart disease, including diabetes, overweight and obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity and excessive alcohol use.
While high blood pressure and heart disease are serious conditions, the good news is that a healthy heart is an achievable goal through lifestyle changes. The Y offers the following tips to help families be heart healthy.
- Get Physical: Being physically active every day is fun and can improve the function of your heart.
- Take a Snooze: Lack of sleep can be associated with elevated cholesterol and blood pressure. Adults need at least seven, but no more than nine hours of sleep at night to aid with the prevention of heart disease. Children need 10-12 hours of sleep per night.
- Shape Up Those Recipes: Makeover your family’s favorite recipes by reducing the amount of salt and saturated fat and substituting a lower fat food without sacrificing tastes.
- Feeling the Pressure: Revised blood pressure guidelines from American Heart Association mean that nearly half of all Americans (46 percent) have high blood pressure. Lowering or maintaining normal blood pressure can greatly reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. Start self-monitoring your blood pressure and know the numbers. Discuss the results with you doctor if needed.
For more information about membership and how the Y can help you stay heart healthy, visit www.ymcanj.org