In this month when hearts are the decoration everywhere for Valentine’s Day, it is a good idea to think about your own heart.
After all, February is “American Heart Month,” a designation sponsored by the American Heart Association. According to Healthfinder.gov, heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death for men and women in the United States. Heart disease is responsible for one of every four deaths – but there are steps you can take to prevent heart disease.
At Swope Health, we take part in Heart Month by encouraging you to make healthy choices and manage your health to prevent heart disease. In coordination with Truman Medical Center,
Swope Health offers cardiology services in our Specialty Clinic, where Truman Nurse Practitioner Justin Swartz is all about preventive care for a healthy heart.
“Most of what I do is clean up after a heart episode has occurred,” said Justin. “But, ideally, if patients pay attention to the big five preventative steps they can avoid heart issues.”
The big five:
- Blood pressure control: Keep that top number less than 100 and the bottom number less than 80.
- Cholesterol control: Keep the LDL (the bad one) less than 100 and the HDL (the good one) greater than 45.
- Blood sugar control: Justin likes the A1C test. It is an average of your blood sugar levels over a three-month period. You want that number to be less than 5.5.
- Tobacco control: Smoking is linked to many heart ailments. Just stay away from it or do everything in your power to quit.
- Fitness control: You have to be active – walk, run, do yoga, bike, dance, swim – ANY physical activity will be a benefit to your heart.
If you are not sure about your numbers, that is a good reason to find out. Make an appointment with your provider for a check-up to learn about your current health and ask about recommendations to improve your heart health.
Once you learn about heart health, we hope you will spread the word to your family, friends and everyone you love. Join us in providing encouragement to quit smoking, manage high blood pressure, add exercise to every day’s routine and make healthy food choices.
Call us at 816-923-5800 to schedule an appointment and take steps toward a healthier heart.
- Tips for heart-healthy choices from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (a division of the National Institutes of Health)
- Learn about managing cholesterol and high blood pressure from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Heart-health tips for women from Go Red for Women, American Heart Association