This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
Red is the color of excitement, energy, passion, love, desire, strength, power and heat … all things intense and passionate. It’s also the color that supporters will be wearing Friday in observance of the American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women Campaign.” In the United States, heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined. There are a few important numbers your health care provider can give you that can help you better understand your heart disease risk:
Cholesterol: There are three types of cholesterol. LDL (bad) cholesterol is the type that can clog your arteries and put you at risk for a heart attack or stroke. It can be hereditary, but a diet high in saturated fat, trans fats and cholesterol also increases LDL. HDL (good) cholesterol may help remove excess plaque from your arteries, helping to protect against a heart attack.
The third type, triglycerides, is a form of fat made in the body. High cholesterol has no symptoms, and many people have it without knowing. Ask your doctor to find out what your cholesterol levels are so you can lower them if you need to.
Blood pressure: Blood pressure is typically recorded as two numbers and written as a ratio.
The top number is the systolic pressure, which is the higher of the two and measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats. The bottom number is the diastolic pressure, which measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats. Blood pressure can change from minute to minute with changes in posture, exercise, stress or sleep. Regular monitoring can help determine if your blood pressure is in a healthy range.
Weight: To reduce your risk of heart disease, it’s important to keep your weight in a healthy range. This is about more than just looking good in your favorite outfit; this is about your health. If you are overweight, slimming down can help you look and feel better.
There are other factors that can influence your risk for heart disease. An inactive lifestyle, an unhealthy diet, smoking and excess alcohol consumption can raise your heart disease risk, as well as risks for other diseases, such as certain cancers and diabetes. Taking steps to reduce your risk of heart disease, such as exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, quitting smoking and reducing stress can help you feel better in every area of your life.
This Friday, join employees of CCHHS to support the fight against heart disease by wearing red. To learn more about how you can join the fight against heart disease, go to goredforwomen.org. For more information about Health Department services, check out our website at www.gethealthycarsoncity.org or “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CCHHS.