American Heart Month
YMCA OF GREATER WAUKESHA COUNTY
TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEART
Friday, February 5, 2021
February is American Heart Month, and as a leading community-based organization committed to improving health, the YMCA of Greater Waukesha County urges everyone to get a blood pressure screening. Revised blood pressure guidelines from American Heart Association mean that nearly half of all Americans (46%) have high blood pressure. High blood pressure is often referred to as “The Silent Killer” because there are typically no warning signs or symptoms.
While high blood pressure and heart disease are serious conditions, the good news is that a healthy heart is an achievable goal through lifestyle changes such as lowering sodium intake, eating healthier, and getting more physical activity. Getting help can be as easy as participating in programs at the Y.
Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program
Launching at the New Berlin YMCA Wellness Center in March, the YMCA’s Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program helps adults with hypertension lower and better manage their blood pressure. The program focuses on regular monitoring of one’s blood pressure at home using proper measuring techniques, individualized support and nutrition education to potentially reduce blood pressure and improve their quality of life.
Diabetes Prevention Program
The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program – which is part of the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program – helps adults adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles to help reduce their chances of developing type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and people with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or suffer a stroke than those who do not have it.
The YMCA's Weight Loss Program is designed to help adults seeking a healthier weight achieve their goals by making small changes to their daily behaviors and forming sustainable healthy habits. The 12-week program helps participants build skills for successful lifestyle changes, as opposed to advocating any specific or restrictive short term solution.
Whether you have high blood pressure, are at risk for heart disease, or want to keep your heart healthy, the Y has resources that can help you achieve your health and well-being goals. Learn more by exploring our healthy living programs or stopping into your local Y.
Try the following tips to show your heart some love and get the whole family involved:
- Get Physical: Being physically active every day is fun and can improve the function of your heart. Plan and schedule opportunities for active play; for example, include a brisk 10-minute trip around the block after meals or a 10-minute walking break during the day. If your family enjoys active video games, select versions that require moving the body’s large muscle groups while playing.
- Take a Snooze: Lack of sleep can be associated with elevated cholesterol and blood pressure. Adults need at least seven, but no more than nine hours of sleep at night to aid with the prevention of heart disease. Children need 10-12 hours of sleep per night. Develop bedtime routines for the whole family to assist with falling asleep faster and staying asleep.
- Shape Up Those Recipes: Makeover your family’s favorite recipes by reducing the amount of salt and saturated fat and substituting a lower fat food without sacrificing tastes. For example, use low-fat yogurt instead of sour cream and skip the seasoning packet and use pepper and olive oil instead. Read food labels to learn more about what is in the package, select foods that have less than 1,000 mg of sodium per serving.
- Feeling the Pressure: Lowering or maintaining normal blood pressure can greatly reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. Start self-monitoring your blood pressure and know the numbers. Discuss the results with you doctor if needed.
- Play Together: Spending time together as a family is a great way to reduce stress, which is important to heart health. Make homemade valentines for your children’s classmates or build a snow fort together in the yard or the park.
One way to start focusing on your heart health is reduce your sodium intake. We’ve put together four tips that'll help you meet that goal:
- When you buy fresh produce and meats, you ensure that there’s no hidden salt in the food you’re eating. When you can, buy fresh.
- Reduce your sodium during American Heart Month by comparing sodium content labels. As a general guide 5% Daily Value of sodium per serving is considered low and 20% is considered high.
- While fresh food is your best option, buying processed food is necessary sometimes. When buying processed food, seek out low-sodium or no-salt-added products.
- Adding spices will give you flavor without adding to your salt intake. Look for recipes that are heavy on spice, low on salt—or start playing with your favorite dishes and see what you can do to spice them up!
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