Categorized | Columns, Features, Health

Health Corner – Sept 28 2012

Making your heart strong and healthy

With the compliments of the Health Promotion Unit

World Heart Day – 29 September 2012

The heart is the organ that sustains the pulse of life. The average adult heart beat is 70-75 beats per minute. Children have a higher rate in the 80’s and 90’s, depending on their age. The younger the child, the faster the heart rate.  Interestingly, females generally have a slightly higher heart rate than males.

According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the world’s largest killers, claiming 17.3 million lives a year. Cardiovascular diseases are disorders of the circulatory system which include heart diseases and stroke.

A major risk factors for CVD is high blood pressure along with raised cholesterol and glucose levels.  High blood pressure is called the “silent killer” because it often has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people don’t realize they have it

When your blood pressure is high:

  • You are 4 times more likely to die from a stroke
  • You are 3 times more likely to die from heart disease.

Even blood pressure that is slightly high can put you at greater risk.

Blood pressure is measured using two numbers. The first (systolic) number represents the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats. The second (diastolic) number represents the pressure in your vessels when your heart rests between beats. If the measurement reads 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, you would say “120 over 80” or write “120/80 mmHg (Source – CDC)

Know your risks factors

Some risk factors are more serious than others.  For example, smoking carries a far greater risk for heart disease than the taking of oral contraceptives which represent a tiny risk

know your numbers for good health

Below is a list of high blood pressure risk factors. If you have any of these risk factors you should have your blood pressure checked every time you visit the health clinic or your doctor.  For those who fall into several risk categories, you should consider acquiring an automatic blood pressure monitor to check your pressure on a regular basis.

Cigarette smoking or secondhand smoke exposure on a daily basis

Diabetes (a fasting glucose higher than 125 mg/dL)

Kidney disease

Family history of hypertension

Obesity or overweight

Physically inactive or  sedentary lifestyle

Men over the age of 45

Women over the age of 55

Taking oral contraceptives

High cholesterol levels

Alcohol abuse

Effects of High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can damage your health in many ways. For instance, it can harden the arteries; decrease the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart. This reduced blood flow can cause:

  • Chest pain (angina).
  • Heart failure, which occurs when the heart can’t pump enough blood and oxygen to your other organs.
  • Heart attack, which occurs when the blood supply to your heart is blocked and heart muscle cells die from a lack of oxygen. The longer the blood flow is blocked, the greater the damage to the heart.
  • High blood pressure can burst or block arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the brain, causing a stroke.

Control measures for High Blood Pressure

Get regular exercise. Studies show regular aerobic exercise such as walking swimming, dancercise or jogging can lower blood pressure by   increasing the elasticity of blood vessels, reducing stress and promoting weight loss.

Reduce salt intake to less than one teaspoon (about 5 grams) per day. Some hidden salt culprits are soda pop especially diet soda, processed foods (ham, bacon, hot dogs, bologna and sausages), canned meats (corn beef) and some canned vegetables (especially vegetable soups). Use garlic, onions, celery, parsley and other herbal seasonings instead of salt.  Drink plenty of water. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.

Manage stress. Take an hour each day after work to unwind by doing something that relaxes you such as listening to music. Get plenty of sleep, leave work at work, make time for play, see friends and relatives, take up a hobby, adopt a pet have all been proven to lower blood pressure.

The quest for a healthy lifestyle begins by making small but sustained changes. Be kind to your heart; invest in your health today – exercise, reduce salt and stress – you will reap the benefits.

 

 

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Making your heart strong and healthy

With the compliments of the Health Promotion Unit

World Heart Day – 29 September 2012

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The heart is the organ that sustains the pulse of life. The average adult heart beat is 70-75 beats per minute. Children have a higher rate in the 80’s and 90’s, depending on their age. The younger the child, the faster the heart rate.  Interestingly, females generally have a slightly higher heart rate than males.

According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the world’s largest killers, claiming 17.3 million lives a year. Cardiovascular diseases are disorders of the circulatory system which include heart diseases and stroke.

A major risk factors for CVD is high blood pressure along with raised cholesterol and glucose levels.  High blood pressure is called the “silent killer” because it often has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people don’t realize they have it

When your blood pressure is high:

Even blood pressure that is slightly high can put you at greater risk.

Blood pressure is measured using two numbers. The first (systolic) number represents the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats. The second (diastolic) number represents the pressure in your vessels when your heart rests between beats. If the measurement reads 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, you would say “120 over 80” or write “120/80 mmHg (Source – CDC)

Know your risks factors

Some risk factors are more serious than others.  For example, smoking carries a far greater risk for heart disease than the taking of oral contraceptives which represent a tiny risk

know your numbers for good health

Below is a list of high blood pressure risk factors. If you have any of these risk factors you should have your blood pressure checked every time you visit the health clinic or your doctor.  For those who fall into several risk categories, you should consider acquiring an automatic blood pressure monitor to check your pressure on a regular basis.

Cigarette smoking or secondhand smoke exposure on a daily basis

Diabetes (a fasting glucose higher than 125 mg/dL)

Kidney disease

Family history of hypertension

Obesity or overweight

Physically inactive or  sedentary lifestyle

Men over the age of 45

Women over the age of 55

Taking oral contraceptives

High cholesterol levels

Alcohol abuse

Effects of High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can damage your health in many ways. For instance, it can harden the arteries; decrease the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart. This reduced blood flow can cause:

Control measures for High Blood Pressure

Get regular exercise. Studies show regular aerobic exercise such as walking swimming, dancercise or jogging can lower blood pressure by   increasing the elasticity of blood vessels, reducing stress and promoting weight loss.

Reduce salt intake to less than one teaspoon (about 5 grams) per day. Some hidden salt culprits are soda pop especially diet soda, processed foods (ham, bacon, hot dogs, bologna and sausages), canned meats (corn beef) and some canned vegetables (especially vegetable soups). Use garlic, onions, celery, parsley and other herbal seasonings instead of salt.  Drink plenty of water. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.

Manage stress. Take an hour each day after work to unwind by doing something that relaxes you such as listening to music. Get plenty of sleep, leave work at work, make time for play, see friends and relatives, take up a hobby, adopt a pet have all been proven to lower blood pressure.

The quest for a healthy lifestyle begins by making small but sustained changes. Be kind to your heart; invest in your health today – exercise, reduce salt and stress – you will reap the benefits.