Heart Disease Awareness Month

February 2016

The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona WIC Program is increasing awareness of the prevalence of heart disease in the United States, particularly in American Indian women. Heart disease causes one in three deaths in women each year. That equates to one woman every minute. American Indians die from heart diseases at younger ages than other racial and ethnic groups in the United States. Thirty–six percent of those who die of heart disease die before age 65. February is National Heart Month so join us in taking a stand against America’s top killer, heart disease, because 80% of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action.

The first step is becoming familiar with your family history. The information you provide will help your doctor be on the lookout for early signs of the same diseases in you and your children. Go to your doctor for regular physicals and screenings for blood pressure and cholesterol. This is especially important because heart disease may have no symptoms.

We can also take measures every day to help keep our hearts healthy.

Eat Well: Eat foods that will fuel your body by:

  • Limiting processed and packaged foods which are loaded with salt
  • Cutting down on fried foods such as fry bread, red meats such as mutton, as well as lard and cheeses
  • Eating more fiber through fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • Drinking plenty of water everyday

Exercise Well: Manage your weight. Choose activities that you will enjoy doing such as hiking, gardening, or traditional dancing. You can do anything physical that keeps your heart rate up for 30 minutes 5 days a week. If you don’t have time for a whole workout, try doing spouts of exercise for just 10 mins a few times throughout the day.

Live Well: Try to adopt healthy habits that help manage stress such as smudging or exercise. Make sure you get enough sleep each night.  When you’re asleep, your heart rate and blood pressure go down. That gives your heart a much needed break. Avoid smoking and limit alcohol intake.

February is a month to take a stand against heart disease. Talk to your doctor and start making healthy choices each and every day. For more information, check out these r esources:

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