Spread the Love – Make Your Heart Health a Priority This Winter!

Get your blood pumping this winter by taking care of your health. Did you know heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States? Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease. According to The Heart Foundation, “heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined. While 1 in 31 American women die from breast cancer each year, 1 in 3 dies of heart disease.” These statistics might seem frightening, but the good news is that there are pre-emptive steps that can be taken to avoid this disorder.

Healthy changes can be made to lower the risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have it.

To lower your risk of heart disease:

  • Watch your weight
  • Quit smoking (if you smoke) and stay away from secondhand smoke
  • Control your cholesterol and blood pressure
  • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation
  • Exercise often
  • Eat a healthy, clean diet rich in nutrients and low in saturated and trans fat

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the following are symptoms of heart disease. The symptoms vary depending on the type and women’s symptoms can be different than men’s. For many people, chest discomfort or a heart attack is the first sign.

Someone having a heart attack may experience several initial symptoms, including:

  • Chest pain or discomfort lasting more than a few minutes
  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck or back
  • Weakness, light-headedness, nausea (feeling sick in the stomach), or a cold sweat
  • Pain or discomfort in the arms or shoulders
  • Shortness of breath

We can use this month of February to raise awareness about heart disease and teach employees how to prevent it — at work and in the community.

Here are a few ideas to help encourage heart health at work:

  • Encourage employees to make small changes, such as using herbs and spices to season their food instead of salt.
  • Motivate employees to make physical activity a part of the workday. Promote breaks during the day – five minutes is all it takes.
  • Host a Heart Health Day. Invite a local cardiologist to speak to your employees about taking steps to prevent heart disease.
  • Start a walking club during lunch to encourage exercise each workday.
  • Offer a smoking cessation program for employees who want to quit smoking. Encourage employees’ to talk with their doctors about programs and products that can help them quit smoking. Also, try to avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Encourage employees’ to maintain a healthy weight. If they want to lose weight, encourage them to work with their health care team to create a reasonable weight-loss plan.