February is Heart Health Month

BY: - 4 Feb '13 | Lifestyle

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Photo Credit: meddygarnet via Flickr

Photo Credit: meddygarnet via Flickr

February is Heart Health Month, so we’re trying to get the word out to make sure that everyone, especially women, know and really understand the important facts about heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, 43 million women in the U.S. are affected by heart disease, and it is the cause of one in three women’s deaths every year…ONE IN THREE! Here are a few ways that you can help to prevent heart disease:

1. If you smoke, QUIT.

Quitting smoking quickly reduces your risk for  coronary artery disease (CAD); within five to 10 years of quitting, your risk of heart attack declines to a level similar to that of people who never smoked, regardless of how long you smoked.

2. Move!

Staying active is very important. You don’t have to be a “gym rat” to keep your heart pumping. Sedentary people who begin a regular program of exercise reduce their risk of a heart attack by 35 to 55 percent. Low-intensity activities, such as gardening or walking, if done regularly and over the long term, can decrease the risk of heart attack.

3. Maintain a healthy weight.

As you put on weight in adulthood (and we all do), your weight gain is mostly fat rather than muscle. This excess weight can lead to conditions that increase your chances of heart disease — high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Size does matter!

4. Get regular health screenings.

High blood pressure and high cholesterol can damage your heart and blood vessels. But without testing for them, you probably won’t know whether you have these conditions. Regular screening can tell you what your numbers are and whether you need to take action.

5. Add more fish to your diet.

People who eat fish regularly are less like to have heart disease, mainly due to the Omega-3 fatty acids that it contains. Even if you don’t care for fish, you should strongly consider DHA/Omega-3 supplements.

Because millions of Americans are affected by heart disease, it is important that we also know what to look for. Signs and symptoms vary from person to person. Women don’t have the same patterns of symptoms as men do. Men may have chest pain on exertion. Women, on the other hand, may feel chest pressure, indigestion, shortness of breath, or fatigue. As women, we need to know this. Here are few things to keep in mind when it comes to MAJOR WARNING signs of heart attack:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Upper body discomfort in the mouth, jaw, arms, back, neck and/or upper stomach
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea, lightheadedness, or cold sweats

We can all agree that knowledge is power. Knowing what to look for when it comes to heart disease is extremely important. Some of us think that we are invincible and that it only happens to “older” or “obese” people. Pay attention to all of the warning signs and live your best life. The very life that you save may be your own!

BMWK — What do you do to prevent heart disease?


About the author

Sheree Adams wrote 117 articles on this blog.

Sheree is a wife and WAHM of three who passionately blogs about marriage, family, health tips and more as Smart & Sassy Mom. Sheree is committed to helping blended families and keeping marriages strong, healthy, fun and SPICY!


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  • Cheryl

    In honor of Heart health month, please also remember Congenital Heart Defects affect 1 in 100 births, and CHD’s kill more children than all childhood cancers combined. Pregnant women, please get a pulse ox on your newborn before they leave the hospital, as some of the most serious defects can be detected this way.

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HPV Vaccination for Boys an Important Step in Prevention

BY: - 7 Feb '13 | Lifestyle

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Photo Credit: meddygarnet via Flickr

The human papilloma virus (HPV) is widely known to affect women as the leading cause of cervical cancer. While cervical cancer cases have declined, risks such as oral and anal cancers in men are on the rise.

HPV vaccines for men are just four years into being approved, but a recent study from the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) showed that low-income and minority parents were receptive to vaccinating young boys. The study also found that a lack of information about the vaccine’s efficiency and safety contributed to less parents getting it for their children The Huffington Post reported.

A Mercury News article revealed that the death rate for oral cancer is three times higher than that of cervical cancer as they account for 78.2 percent of HPV related diseases. The vaccine, Gardasil, which is FDA-approved for men and women, defends against HPV cancer causing strains 18 and 16. Cervarix protects against the same two strains, but is not licensed for men.

“The very low rate at which boys are vaccinated is a result of the inability of the manufacturers and doctors to speak openly and with factual evidence about oral cancer in a context that parents will understand,” says Brian Hill, president of the Oral Cancer Foundation, who was present at the National Institute of Health meeting where the aid was requested. “Vaccination is not just about cervical cancers but cancers their sons will potentially get in the future.”

The cost of vaccination is typically free or low cost for those under 26 and is most effective to someone who’s least likely to have already been exposed. Once the HPV strain is contracted, the vaccine will not be effective.

Read more on boys and HPV prevention on MercuryNews.com

BMWK — What are your thoughts on young boys receiving HPV vaccinations? What steps are you taking to make sure your children are protected against the disease?

About the author

Stacie Bailey wrote 160 articles on this blog.

Stacie Bailey is a graduate of Quinnipiac University with a master's degree in Interactive Communications. She has strong interests in youth, social media and an overall love for sharing knowledge and information.


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