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Caring for your Heart. Pg 1 Hows your heart? Pg. 2

Alief Wellness Wonders

Heart health for all ages! Pg. 3

Matters of the Heart

Coming to Alief! Pg. 4

FEBRUARY 2012

Caring for your Heart... On this, the most heart-

list of risk factors to help you

2007 (including lost produc-

shaped day of the year, put

see where you stand.

tivity) was $286 billion. And

down that box of chocolates

Start with prevention

with obesity continuing to

for a moment and consider the

People really believe they're

rise, heart disease is becom-

mighty organ nestled in the

following ideal cardiovascular

ing more common in the

middle of your chest. Today,

health practices because

young.

your heart will beat about

they're taking their cholesterol

STROKE

100,000 times, pumping

and blood pressure medica-

The good news!

roughly 2,000 gallons of blood.

tions. But in fact, if you can

From 1997 to 2007, the

Just a bit bigger than your fist,

prevent risk factors from de-

stroke death rate fell by 44.8

your heart is designed to keep

veloping by age 50, your

percent. In December, the

on beating for a lifetime. But a

chances of dying of a cardio-

Centers for Disease Control

lot can go wrong. Heart dis-

vascular event by age 90 are

and Prevention released a

ease and stroke together ac-

close to zero.

preliminary report indicating

count for about one in three

HEART DISEASE

that for the first time in 50

deaths each year in the United

The good news!

years, stroke has fallen from

States. Medical science is mak-

Deaths from heart disease

the third to the fourth leading

ing major advances in repair-

declined 27.8 percent from

cause of death. (The top

ing damage and preventing

1997 to 2007. That's mostly

three are heart disease, can-

disease — the American Heart

thanks to better medications,

cer and lung diseases.)

Association estimates declines

technology and guidelines that

The bad news...

in death rates for heart disease

help doctors know what works

Even as stroke declines

and stroke meant 221,000

best to prevent and treat car-

among older people, doctors

lives were saved in 2007. But

diovascular disease.

reported an alarming rise in

junk-food-loving, exercise-

The bad news...

strokes among young and

loathing lifestyles threaten to

The gains are coming at a high

middle-aged Americans, likely

swamp those gains in the

cost. From 1997 to 2007, inpa-

due to obesity. Stroke re-

years to come. Here is a Val-

tient cardiovascular operations

mains a leading cause of seri-

entine's Day look at some of

and procedures increased 27

ous, long-term disability,

the good and bad news on

percent. The estimated cost of

costing an estimated $73.7

heart health in America, and a

heart disease and stroke in

billion in 2010.


Page 2

ALIEF WELLNESS WONDERS

Hows your heart?

Hows your heart health?

Here are six major risk fac-

day of moderate or vigorous therapy if needed, can get

tors for heart disease and

activity.

most people there.

stroke, how Americans are

Cigarette smoking

Diabetes

doing in regard to them and

STATUS: 23 percent of men STATUS: 8 percent of adults

targets to achieve optimal

and 18 percent of women

diabetes mellitus; 36.8 per-

help improving these risk

than historic peaks. But de-

cent have pre-diabetes.

factors, see the American

clines in use have been

GOAL: Fasting plasma glu-

Heart Association's program

slowing and 19.5 percent of cose (also known as fasting

at heart.org/mylifecheck.

high school students report

blood sugar) less than 100

Weight

current tobacco use.

mg/dL. Lifestyle changes

STATUS: More than 67 per-

TARGET: If you smoke,

can manage many cases of

cent of adults are overweight quit. The longer you stay

Type 2 diabetes; others will

(body mass index over 25)

stopped, the better for your need drug therapy.

or obese (BMI over 30);

heart health.

nearly 34 percent are obese. Hypertension Among ages 2 to 19, 32 per- STATUS: 33.5 percent of cent are overweight or

U.S. adults have high blood

obese; 16 percent are obese

pressure; 80 percent are

— about triple the rate of

aware of it, but less than

1963.

half have it under control.

TARGET: BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 TARGET: Systolic reading for adults. For a 6-foot per-

(the upper number) of less

son, that's no more than 183 than 120 and diastolic read-

“Doctors reported an alarming rise in strokes among young and middle-aged Americans, likely due to obesity.”

have been diagnosed with

heart health. For much more are smokers, much better

pounds. But losing even a

ing (the lower number) of

small amount — such as 10

less than 80, without drug

percent of current weight —

therapy. Lifestyle changes,

can help.

then drug therapy if

Physical activity

needed, can get it under

STATUS: More than half of

control.

U.S. adults don't get enough

High cholesterol

physical activity to provide

STATUS: 15 percent of U.S.

health benefits.

adults have total serum

TARGET: At least 150 min-

cholesterol of 240 mg/dL or

utes a week of moderate

higher.

activity for adults; for chil-

GOAL: Less than 200. Life-

dren, at least 60 minutes a

style changes, then drug


Page 3

Heart Health for all ages! 20s and 30s Know your family history. Know who in your family has experienced heart disease and talk to your doctor about how your family history may affect your own risk profile. Take stock of your health habits. The eating and exercise habits you learned growing up can be either a boon or a burden to you. Don’t smoke. If you don't smoke, congratulations! If you do smoke, stop now. Of all the things you can do to protect your heart, smoking cessation is perhaps the most beneficial. Develop healthy eating and exercise habits. Learn how to eat and exercise in a way that supports your heart health now and in the future.

30s and 40s Pay attention to your numbers. This is a good time to know your cholesterol, blood pressure, and ideal weight. If your numbers are within normal limits, you have a good baseline for comparison as you get older. If your numbers put you at elevated risk for future heart disease, now is the time to work with your health care provider to manage your numbers and lower your risk. Set a good example for your children. Children are influenced much more by what you do than what you say. Model good eating, exercise, and stress reduction strategies for them, and start them off on a lifetime of heart healthy habits. Take care of yourself. The demands of managing a family and sometimes a career as well can seem like an excuse to put ourselves last and to abandon our good health habits.

40s and 50s Continue to monitor your numbers. It is wise to check your cholesterol at least every 5 years, annually if you are being treated for high cholesterol. Also continue to monitor your weight and blood pressure and follow your doctor’s recommendations for optimum management. Continue to model heart healthy behavior for your children. Bring good food choices into the house, limit TV and computer time, and get plenty of exercise. If you havent yet adopted a hearthealthy lifestyle yourself, it is not too late to do so. However, you should check with your doctor before embarking on a new exercise program.

50s, 60s and beyond A renewed focus on your heart-healthy lifestyle is critical to help you protect your heart and its never too late to make changes. Maintain good sleep habits. Uninterrupted sleep becomes more difficult with menopause, but it is important to your general and cardiac health to aim for 6 to 8 hours of good quality sleep every night. Be aggressive about investigating cardiac concern. Even if they are not “typical”, new or unusual symptoms could herald trouble and need to be discussed with your physician. Symptoms, evaluation, and treatment of heart disease are different in women and men.


Alief ISD Wellness Risk Management 4250 Cook Rd. Houston, TX 77072 Phone: 281-988-3860 Fax: 281-988-3003

Alief Wellness working for you! Dates will be announced soon for our annual Biometrics testing. Keep an eye out for our weekly fitness classes; Zumba at Budewig, Water Aerobics at the Natatorium, and our Admin Fit class at the Administration building. See our class list on our Risk Management Webpage! You can also go to our local Alief YMCA and attend their fitness classes for free!

**Make sure to log on to Practivahealth.com and update your Self Health Assessment. Get access to nutritionist, personal trainers, health coaching and more!**


Heart Wellness Information