In the United States, February is dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of heart health care, and for this reason it is recognized as National Heart Month, which also marks the 18th anniversary of the movimiento Go Red for Women® from the American Heart Association, a movement that raises women’s awareness of heart disease, encourages them to take action to reduce heart disease, and empowers them to lead healthy lives.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women, but did you know that by making a few simple lifestyle changes you can reduce your risk by almost 80%? In an interview with Siempre Mujer, Dr. Ilena L. Piña, public health specialist, member of the National Board of Directors of the American Heart Association, clinical professor at Central Michigan University and adjunct professor at Case Western University, explains what we should keep in mind tells about heart health.
What are the golden rules that we must take into account when taking care of the health of the heart?
Regardless of your age, it is essential to know your figures, to know your blood pressure levels, fasting cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, knowing these figures can help you and your doctor to determine your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Also, if you are taking medicine for blood pressure or cholesterol, it is very important to take them as your doctor tells you, otherwise your levels will not improve. Living a healthy life, staying active and eating a healthy diet is key.
To keep the heart healthy, what kind of exercises should we do?
There is no need to go to the gym to exercise. You can walk around your neighborhood, walk to the mall, dance at home or ride a bike. Any kind of activity you can do is helpful. You can even set an hourly alarm to get up and walk around the house or do a little exercise routine. Swimming has many benefits.
What are the best and worst foods for the heart?
The Mediterranean diet is very good. Grains, vegetables and lean proteins, for example, fish are great for your health. I recommend that women eat it at least three times a week. Other types of meat, such as red meat, should be eaten in moderation. Beans are also great and an excellent source of protein. What we should avoid is fast food or fast food. I also suggest checking the content of foods to avoid those that are high in saturated fat and salt..
What are the factors that can affect the heart?
Genetics are very important, so you have to take into account your family history. If high blood pressure runs in your family or if a relative has had a cardiac event, you can start taking your blood pressure to monitor your blood pressure levels.
What is the routine of medical checkups that we should follow to prevent heart attacks? Is there a specific exam?
You should prioritize tests that check your fasting cholesterol and glucose to find out if you have diabetes. Unfortunately, diabetes is a factor that is quite common in the Hispanic population, especially in Mexican American women, as well as obesity or being overweight. Diabetes, overweight and high accuracy is a problematic combination for the vascular system.
Any extra tips for women to improve heart health?
Women are the center of the home. When we follow a healthy lifestyle, the family will follow. It is important that we talk to our moms, aunts, sisters, friends, etc., to raise awareness together and take action to live a healthy life.
In case a person is having a heart attack, how should we help him?
You should immediately call 911 or go to the emergency room. It is better to be told that you are fine, than to be late and have serious consequences.
What should we take into account after heart surgery?
Today there are many non-invasive options for cardiac procedures. For example, you can put “stents” which are like tubes that are placed in the artery to prevent the artery from becoming clogged. It is also important that if you have symptoms of a heart attack, you should go immediately to the emergency room, if the doctors can unclog the affected artery within 90 minutes the entire heart muscle can be saved. Thanks to advances in medicine, heart surgery is only for specific cases.
Salud,Salud: Vida Sana,
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