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Table of CONTENTS 29 days of heart health . . . . . 3 What’s your risk? . . . . . . 4 Never too young for prevention . . 4 Eating healthy on a budget . 5 Thyme-roasted salmon with crunchy veggie salsa . . . . . . 5 French bean stew . . . . . . 6 Hearts and love lives . . . . . . . 6 Is it a heart attack? . . . . 7 Take charge of your health: Get a check-up . 8 Simple steps for heart health ..........8

Online resources




29 days of heart health February is American Heart Month, drawing attention to America’s No. 1 killer and the strides being taken to raise awareness of risk factors and to decrease death from heart disease. The Nebraska American Heart Association offers the following 29 reasons to join the cause this month and year-round.

29 reasons to believe in better cardiac health 1. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of Nebraskans, but it is largely preventable. 2. Stroke is the No. 4 killer and a leading cause of disability in the United States. Each year, about 795,000 Americans have a new or repeat stroke (1 every 40 seconds). 3. Feb. 3 was National Wear Red Day. People across America wore red to raise awareness of heart disease and stroke. 4. The facts are clear. More women die of heart disease than all forms of cancer combined. Unfortunately, the killer isn’t as easy to see. Heart disease is often silent, hidden and misunderstood. 5. Our lives are in our hands. We can stop our No. 1 killer (heart disease) together by sharing the truth. We can be the difference between life and death. 6. Currently, some 8 million women in the U.S. are living with heart disease, yet only one in six American women believes that heart disease is her greatest health threat.

7. While one in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, one in three dies of cardiovascular disease. 8. Acting quickly saves lives. If you or someone you know shows signs of heart attack or stroke, call 9-1-1 right away. An Emergency Medical Services (EMS) team can begin treatment when it arrives. 9. If you’re a survivor, you can share your experiences with heart disease and provide support to another woman. Learn more about the new Go Red Heart Match program at 10. Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease. 11. Heart disease can be prevented. In fact, research shows

that 80 percent of cardiac events in women may be prevented by making the right choices involving diet, exercise and smoking. 12. Only 43 percent of African American women and 44 percent of Hispanic women know that heart disease is their greatest health risk, compared with 60 percent of white women. 13. Legislation can improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease and stroke. Become a You’re the Cure Advocate at to add your voice to the cause. 14. Too many lives have and will be cut short from heart disease and its risk factors; however, early detection, lifestyle changes, and other intervention

can improve certain conditions. 15. You and your loved ones can choose to beat heart disease this year by turning your personal choices into life-saving actions. Whether it’s eating healthier, exercising more, reducing your cholesterol, or quitting smoking. 16. To start eating healthier, consider planning meals in advance — visit for recipes from a number of heart-healthy cookbooks and use the online grocery list builder to quickly iden-

tify heart-healthy products to add to your grocery list. 17. In women, heart disease is too often a silent killer. Less than a third of women in a recent survey reported any early warning signs such as chest pain or discomfort before a heart attack, compared with most men. 18. Total estimated direct and indirect cost of cardiovascular diseases in U.S. in 2011: $286.6 billion. Total estimated cost of cancer: $228 billion. 19. Seven indicators can help predict your idea heart health: physical activity, weight management, healthy eating, not smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose. Learn more and get your personal health score and action plan at 20. Only slightly more than half of women are likely to call 9-1-1 if experiencing symptoms, while 79 percent of women said that they would call 9-1-1 if someone else was having a heart attack. 21. One of the best ways to reduce your risk of cardiovascular

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disease is to start getting regular, moderate exercise, at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week. 22. Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, causing someone to gasp dramatically, clutch their heart and drop to the ground. However, most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often the people affected aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before getting help. 23. American Heart Association funds are used for critical lifesaving research and education. American Heart Association funded nationwide has led to advances such as CPR, life-extending drugs, pacemakers, bypass surgery, the heartlung machine and surgical techniques to repair heart defects. 24. By adding one hour of regular, vigorous physical activity, adults may gain up to two hours of life expectancy. 25. You can take control and change your life today. Explore Go Red BetterU, the free 12-week online fitness and nutrition makeover that can change your life at 26. The American Heart Association is second only to the federal government as a source of funding for cardiovascular and stroke research. 27. During a heart check-up, your doctor takes a careful look at your “numbers,” including your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, your blood pressure and more. Knowing your numbers is an important part of keeping your heart healthy. It can help you and your doctor know your risks and mark the progress you’re making toward a healthier you. 28. Smoking is the single most preventable cause of death in the United States. If you smoke cigarettes (or cigars), you have a higher risk of illness and death from heart attack, stroke and other diseases. Visit for help quitting smoking. 29. Uncovering family history can help you to better understand your risk for heart disease. If you have a blood relative with heart disease or a risk factor for genetic heart disease, your risk for developing it significantly increases. — Courtesy the American Heart Association

High blood pressure. High blood pressure usually has no symptoms, so talk to your healthcare professional about your risk. To prevent or manage high blood pressure, eat a healthy diet low in sodium, saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol. YOUR GOAL: Blood pressure under 120/80. Smoking. Smoking increases your risk two to four times that of nonsmokers. It’s never too late to quit! High cholesterol. The higher your total blood cholesterol, the greater your risk of coronary heart disease. Take steps to lower your cholesterol levels by losing unnecessary weight and limiting the saturated fats, trans



RISK? Know the risk factors of deadly heart disease

fats and cholesterol you eat. YOUR GOAL: Total cholesterol of 200 mg/dL or less, LDL or “bad” cholesterol of 160 mg/dL or less and HDL or “good” cholesterol of 50 mg/dL or higher.

Physical inactivity. Lack of physical activity increases your risk of coronary heart disease. YOUR GOAL: 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week that add up to 150

minutes or more per week. Being obese or overweight. If you have excess body fat – especially at the waist – you’re more likely to develop heart disease and stroke. Work with your doctor to determine your healthy weight and develop a plan to achieve or maintain a healthy weight. YOUR GOAL: Waist measurement of 35 inches or less. Diabetes. Women with diabetes have from two to four times higher death rates from heart disease. To prevent or manage diabetes, watch your weight and diet, be active and talk to your healthcare professional about your family history of diabetes. YOUR GOAL: Fasting blood glucose of 100 mg/dL or less.

Never too young for prevention Whatever stage of life you’re in, you can take steps to protect your cardiac health Whatever your age, you should think about how nutrition and exercise can work together to help you live a heart-healthy lifestyle. At, under the “Heart Healthy At Any Age” tab, you’ll find tons of tips on how to live along, healthy life including hearthealthy recipes, tips on how to watch your weight and so much more.

Staying heart healthy in your 20s In your 20s, it can be easy to overlook the importance of living a hearthealthy lifestyle. Yet, this is the time to check your family history of heart disease. Don’t smoke and stay away from secondhand smoke. Drink in moderation. Women, be aware that some oral contraceptives can cause an increase in your blood pressure.

In your 30s

own health. You’re young, but you’re not a kid anymore. Now is the time to build heart healthy habits. If you don’t already exercise regularly, now is the time to start. You don’t have to join a boot camp class or run a half-marathon. All it takes is about 30 minutes of exercise a day on most days.

In your 40s In your 40s, you may feel like you are too set in your ways to make a change, but it’s never too late. Focus on nutrition and working healthy foods into your diet. Make sure you are getting enough calcium. Sometime in your 40s or 50s, you may notice it becomes harder to maintain your usual weight. That’s why it’s all the more important to manage stress and stick to a healthy diet and exercise routine now.

In their 30s, many people get so in- In your 50s Unfortunately, the number of volved with their careers and family, they neglect to pay attention to their women who have heart attacks in-

creases dramatically once you turn 55 — especially after menopause. But the good news is that you have the power to reduce your risk, and if you do have a heart condition, there is plenty that you can do to manage it. Rather than trying to look like you did 20 years ago, your goal should be to feel like you did then. Finding the balance of healthy eating and regular exercise will allow you to feel better and reach or maintain a healthy weight.

In your 60s and beyond

The older we get, the trickier exercise can be. Whether you’ve been active for years or you are just getting started, it’s important to find an activity you enjoy that provides the right level of activity for your body. For some people, taking short brisk walks (as little as 10 minutes) throughout the day or water aerobics can be just the right amount of exercise. — Courtesy the American Heart Association






Eating healthy on a budget: 10 tips

Making healthy food choices can be difficult. And because people with type 2 diabetes are at a greater risk for heart disease and stroke, there is often the added pressure of juggling diet needs for two separate conditions. Making matters worse, these healthy choices become increasingly difficult to make when money is tight. To help you stick to your eating plan without breaking the bank, frugal living expert Jonni McCoy has provided the following tips for eating healthy on a budget. Limit red meat in favor of

healthier and less expensive sources of protein. Fish, like tuna, has omega 3 fatty acids that are good for the heart. Nuts and beans have a lot of protein also, but make sure you review the salt content and eat appropriate portions since nuts tend to be high in fat. Enjoy frozen vegetables and fruit. They are just as satisfying, and typically just as healthy, as fresh produce. Just make sure to check the nutrition facts to confirm that no extra sugar or salt was added. Avoid eating out, as most

restaurants come with extra large portions and extra large price tags. And options at fast food restaurants are typically loaded with excess fat, salt and sugar. Eat before you go shopping. Going to the grocery store on an empty stomach will leave you more likely to buy on impulse. Grow a garden! Not only will you save on vegetables like cucumbers and tomatoes, but you’ll stay active with this new hobby. And regular exercise is another important part of managing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Heart-Healthy Recipes

Thyme-Roasted Salmon with Crunchy Veggie Salsa

Serves 4; 3 ounces fish and 1/4 cup salsa per serving Salsa 1/2 medium cucumber (about 3 ounces), peeled, seeded, and chopped 1/4 cup quartered or chopped grape tomatoes (about 2 ounces) 1/2 medium green bell pepper, chopped 1/4 cup finely chopped radishes 2 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion 1 teaspoon grated lime zest 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 1 teaspoon olive oil (extra virgin preferred) 1/4 teaspoon salt Salmon Cooking spray 4 salmon fillets (about 4 ounces each), rinsed and patted dry 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper (coarsely ground preferred) Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a medium bowl, gently stir together the salsa ingredients. Set aside. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly spray with cooking spray. Put the fish on the foil. Sprinkle the thyme, salt, and pepper over the fish. Using your fingertips, gently press the seasonings so they adhere to the fish. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the desired doneness. Transfer the fish to plates. Spoon the salsa and its accumulated juices beside or over the fish. Nutrients per Serving Calories 170 6.5 g Total Fat Saturated Fat 1.0 g Trans Fat 0.0 g Polyunsaturated Fat 1.0 g Monounsaturated Fat 2.5 g Cholesterol 52 mg 382 mg Sodium Carbohydrates 4 g Fiber 1 g Sugars 2 g Protein 24 g Dietary Exchanges 3 lean meat

Scout your local newspaper for coupons before you go shopping. It may cost $1-2 to purchase the Sunday paper, but your savings will likely exceed this amount. Shop for seasonal produce – fruits and veggies are less expensive during their peak growing times, and they’re also tastier! Look for the generic brands. The ingredients are usually the same as the brand name versions, but they’re much more affordable. Make your own prepackaged snacks by buying

a large container of raisins, nuts or pretzels and separating them into individual portions yourself. By checking the nutrition facts, you can gauge how many to eat at one time bsed on the fat, salt, and sugar content. Plan your meals each week. By planning ahead, you can check the nutrition facts of a meal before you decide to make it and create a detailed grocery list for easy shopping. Planning also helps avoid impulse shopping. — Courtesy the American Heart Association




Heart-Healthy Recipes

French Bean Stew

Serves 6; scant 1 1/2 cups per serving n 6 cups water n 8 ounces dried Great Northern beans or other dried white beans, sorted for stones and shriveled beans, rinsed, and drained n 8 ounces dried black beans, sorted for stones and shriveled beans, rinsed, and drained n Cooking spray n 3 medium ribs of celery, chopped n 2 medium carrots, chopped n 1 large green bell pepper, chopped n 1 large onion, chopped n 4 medium garlic cloves, crushed or minced n 2 8-ounce cans no-saltadded tomato sauce n 1 1/4 cups fat-free, low-sodium vegetable broth n 1/2 cup dry white wine (regular or nonalcoholic) n 1/4 cup light or dark molasses n 2 medium dried bay leaves n 1 1/2 teaspoons dried fennel seeds, crushed n 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes n 1/2 teaspoon salt n 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled In a Dutch oven, stir together the water and beans. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the

heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Let stand, covered, for 1 hour. Or put the water and beans in a large bowl. Let stand, covered, for 6 to 12 hours. With either method, drain the beans in a colander, rinse, and drain again. Set aside. When the beans are ready, dry the Dutch oven and lightly spray with cooking spray. Cook the celery, carrots, bell pepper, onion, and garlic over medium heat for 20 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in the remaining ingredients and the beans. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the beans are tender, adding water if necessary and stirring occasionally. Discard the bay leaves before serving the stew. Nutrients per Serving Calories 359 Total Fat 1.0 g Saturated Fat 0.0 g Trans Fat 0.0 g Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g Cholesterol 0 mg Sodium 257 mg Carbohydrates 68 g Fiber 13 g Sugars 26 g Protein 18 g Dietary Exchanges 4 starch, 2 vegetable, 1 lean meat

The Associated Press

In this Jan. 13 photo, heart patient Tammy Collins, right, goes through her cardio rehabiltaion workout while being monitored by nurse Julie Walsh at The Ohio State University CarePoint East facility in Columbus, Ohio.

Hearts and love lives Sex poses surprisingly low risk to most cardiac patients CHICAGO (AP) — Good news: Sex is safe for most heart patients. If you’re healthy enough to walk up two flights of stairs without chest pain or gasping for breath, you can have a love life. That advice from a leading doctors’ group addresses one of the most pressing, least discussed issues facing survivors of heart attacks and other heart patients. In its first science-based recommendations on the subject, the American Heart Association says having sex only slightly raises the chance for a heart attack. And that’s true for people with and without heart disease. Surprisingly, despite the higher risk for a heart patient to have a second attack, there’s no evidence that they have more

sex-related heart attacks than people without cardiac disease. Many heart patients don’t think twice about climbing stairs, yet many worry that sexual activity will cause another heart attack, or even sudden death, said Dr. Glenn Levine, lead author of a report detailing the recommendations and a professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. The report says sex is something doctors should bring up with all heart patients. Yet few do because they’re uncomfortable talking about it or they lack information, Levine said. The new guidance is designed to fill that gap. Heart patients should get a doctor’s OK before engaging in sexual activity. Many may be advised

first to do cardiac rehab — exercise while being monitored for heart symptoms, to improve heart strength and increase physical fitness. But the heart association says most eventually will be cleared to resume sexual activity. The doctors’ group offers advice for heart patients based on scientific research involving sometimes provocative sex-related topics: n Who’s most at risk for sudden death related to sex? Married men having affairs, often with younger women in unfamiliar settings. Those circumstances can add to stress that may increase the risks, evidence from a handful of studies suggests. n Sex may be OK as soon as one week after a relatively mild heart attack, if patients can walk up a few flights of stairs without discomfort.

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Take charge of your health: Get a check-up

Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans, but did most of the risk factors that cause heart disease are preventable. By taking charge of your health and scheduling yearly check-ups, you increase your odds of catching preventable conditions early. Check-ups may seem like a waste of time, but they are invaluable when it comes to detecting underlying problems. “The largest predictors of heart disease are conditions that you may not know that you have,” said Rebecca Rundlett, MD, cardiologist with Nebraska Heart Institute. “High blood pressure and diabetes often have no associated symptoms, yet; if left untreated can have very significant consequences on your health and will put you at a

very high risk of a heart attack and stroke. A routine health exam could assess these, start treatment and reduce your risk substantially.” Major risk factors of heart disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, lack of physical activity, smoking, high blood sugar and lack of physical activity. At a routine yearly check-up, a doctor will take into account your overall health, including your risk factors, family health history, medications and any new conditions since your last visit. “The physician will conduct a physical exam basically to look for any early signs of preventable disease,” said Rundlett. “This usually includes examination of your eyes, ears, mouth, throat, thyroid gland, heart, lungs,

abdomen, skin and pulses. Your doctor may perform other exams as is appropriate given your individual health problems and concerns.” Rundlett recommends coming prepared to your check-up to make the most of your time: Go to your check-up fasting in case your doctor needs to order fasting labs. It may save you an additional trip to the lab on another day. Bring in a list of your medication prescribed by all of your doctors so that your primary doctor knows what your specialists are also prescribing you. Ask your family about their health history so that you can tell your doctor about your own possible risks. Between your regular visits keep track of any procedures that you may have had done by another physician or ex-

Simple steps for heart health

Getting and maintaining a healthy heart is vital to living a long and active life. Many people mistakenly believe that heart health is a goal they can’t obtain, but all it takes are a few simple changes to your everyday habits to be on the road to feeling better and living longer. Visit to see how you’re doing right now in terms of a healthy heart and get tips on keeping that ticker going strong for years to come. Get active. Just 30 minutes of physical activity every day is enough to keep your heart, body and mind healthy. Play with your kids, walk the dog or so some quick laps around the office at lunch – find a way to work 20 minutes of movement into your day. Control cholesterol. Know your numbers and get your cholesterol checked. A cholesterol level of 200 mg/dL or higher puts you in a high-risk category and is cause to take action. Eat better. Aim for getting in more vegetables and fruits. They are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber and low in calories. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables may help you control your weight and your blood pressure. Manage blood pressure. By keeping

your blood pressure in the healthy range (less than 120 mm Hg systolic AND less than 80 mm Hg diastolic), you are: Reducing your risk of your vascular walls becoming overstretched and injured, reducing your risk of your heart having to pump harder to compensate for blockages, protecting your entire body so that your tissue receives regular supplies of blood that is rich in the oxygen it needs. Lose weight. 145 million Americans are overweight or obese. If you have too much fat — especially if a lot of it is at your waist — you’re at higher risk for such health problems as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and diabetes. Reduce blood sugar. The American Heart Association considers diabetes and high blood sugar one of the six major controllable risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease or a stroke. Stop smoking. Smoking is the most important preventable cause of premature death in the United States. Smokers have a higher risk of developing many chronic disorders, including atherosclerosis, which can lead to coronary heart disease, heart attack (myocardial infarction) and stroke.

‘Man up’ and go to the doctor! Men are notorious for avoiding doctor visits. There are several excuses men use: They don’t have a doctor. They don’t have insurance. “There’s probably nothing wrong.” They “don’t have time.” They don’t want to spend the money. Doctors “don’t do anything.” They don’t want to hear what they might be told. They’d rather tough it out. Whatever the excuse, help the men you know get to the doctor for a check-up! ams performed by other physicians such as your eye exams, mammograms, well-woman exams etc. Also keep track of your immunizations

if not received by your regular doctor so that he can update you records. If need be, make a list of questions that you

have been wanting to ask your doctor, likely if you don’t write it down you will forget when you are seen. Keep track of your health progress by taking the My Life Check assessment through the American Heart Association. The assessment pulls together a variety of health information and gives individuals a “health score” based on the data. Individuals are encouraged to make healthy lifestyle changes and to come back at a later date and take the assessment again to improve their scores. For more information, visit — Courtesy the American Heart Association

Heart 2012  

Heart 2012 is dedicated to informing readers about keeping a healthy heart.