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New Heart Disease Prevention Guidelines

February is American Heart Month and February 5, 2016 is National Wear Red Day.

Hot Springs, Ark. –  February is American Heart Month and February 5, 2016 is National Wear Red Day.  According to the CDC, heart disease and stroke are the No.1 and 4 leading causes of death in the United States.  Not only are they the leading causes of death, but heart disease and stroke are also the leading causes of disability leaving many unable to work, live independently, and enjoy the family activities that they once could.  Do you know the warning signs of a heart attack or stroke?

Heart Attack Warning Signs

  • Chest discomfort.  Most heart attacks will have some discomfort in the center of the chest such as uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.  The discomfort can last for a few minutes or go away and come back.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body.  Discomfort is not limited to just the chest.  You may also feel pain or discomfort in both or one of your arms, your back, neck, jaw, or even your stomach.
  • Shortness of breath.  You can experience shortness of breath along with chest discomfort, or even if you are not having any chest discomfort.
  • Other signs.  In addition to the above warning signs, a heart attack may also trigger lightheadedness, nausea, or cause you to break out in a cold sweat.

Stroke Warning Signs

Learn this acronym to help you remember the warning signs of a stroke – F.A.S.T.

  • F – Face drooping. If you suspect someone is having a stroke, ask him/her to smile.  Does one side of his/her face droop or is it numb?
  • A Arm weakness.  Ask the suspected person to raise both arms.  Does one arm drift downward or is one arm weak or numb?
  • S Speech difficulty.  As the suspected person to repeat a simple sentence such as “The grass is green.”  Can he/she repeat the sentence correctly?  Is he/she hard to understand, unable to speak, or is his/her speech slurred?
  • T Time to call 9-1-1.  If the suspected person show any of the above signs, even if the signs go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to a hospital immediately.

Heart attack and stroke are both life-and-death emergencies which means every second counts.  The sooner you respond to the above warning signs could be the difference between life, death, or permanent disability. 

 The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology have released new diet and exercise guidelines for heart health.  Use these guidelines to make some simple lifestyle changes and help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. Research has proven lifestyle changes are a direct link to behavior change, so start small.  Tackle one area at a time to give your mind and body time to adapt to the change before trying to tackle another area.

  1. Occasional sweets – If you maintain an overall heart-healthy diet, occasionally indulging to satisfy your sweet tooth should be okay.
  2. Exercise – Engage in 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise three to four times a week.  Brisk walking falls into this category.  This new recommendation is for adults who need to lower their cholesterol and/or blood pressure.  This includes the one-third of U.S. adults who have elevated levels of bad cholesterol and the nearly two-thirds who have high blood pressure.
  3. Dietary patterns – The recommended dietary patterns put an emphasis on fruit, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, poultry, fish and nuts.
  4. Foods to avoid – According to Dr. Robert Eckel, co-chair of the committee who wrote the new guidelines, “Eating a healthy diet is not about good and bad foods in isolation from the rest of your diet – it’s about the overall diet.”  Red meat and sugary foods should be limited, and processed foods should be avoided.  A recommended eating plan is the DASH eating plan.
  5. Lower blood pressure – In order to lower blood pressure, the guidelines suggest limiting sodium intake to no more than 2,400 mg a day.  The average American currently consumes 3,600 mg a day.  Blood pressure can be lowered even further by lowering sodium intake to 1,500 mg a day.

For more information on the new guidelines and how to improve your heart health, contact the Garland County Extension Office at 623-6841 or 922-4703, email Jessica at jvincent@uaex.edu, visit our website at www.uaex.edu or visit the American Heart Association website at www.heart.org.

 

EHC Information

Are you interested in joining an existing Extension Homemakers Club? EHC is the largest volunteer organization in the state. For information on EHC call 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email jvincent@uaex.edu.

Master Gardeners

If you’re interested in becoming a Master Gardener and would like more information, you’re welcome to attend their monthly meeting on the 3rd Thursday of each month at 1pm at the Elks Lodge.  You may also call the Extension office on 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email abates@uaex.edu.

 

4-H Information

We have several 4-H clubs for our Garland county youth who are 5 to 19 years old.  For more information on all the fun 4-H activities there are, call the Extension Office at 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email Linda Bates at lbates@uaex.edu.

 

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer

By Jessica Vincent
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jessica Vincent
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
236 Woodbine Hot Springs AR 71901
(501) 623-6841
jvincent@uaex.edu

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  • The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

    The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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