Advocate For Your Family’s Heart Health

Posted on September 30, 2011

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You can be an advocate for the family’s healthy heart by taking certain actions at home.

Each year cardiovascular diseases take the lives of 17 million people, with 80% of these deaths occuring in low and middle income countries. 7.3 percent of these are due to heart disease and 6.3 % due to strokes.

Cardiovascular disease is a major non-communicable disease and the # 1 cause of deaths globally. Fortunatley most of these deaths can be prevented.

Cardiovascular diseases are:
-Strokes
-Coronary heart disease
-Congenital heart disease
-Peripheral artery disease
-Rheumatic heart disease

It is important that the global efforts to fight heart disease do not rest on policy makers and world leaders only, but on individual homes and families.

The World Heart Federation is challenging us all to take charge of our family’s heart health and become our home’s advocate for healthy living.

We have one heart and not two, if the heart is bad it leaves us without a good one. Fortunately most of the deaths due to heart disease can be prevented by:
1-Preventing cardiovascular disease
2-Knowing the warning signs of a heart attack

Prevention
Heart disease can be prevented by eliminating the risk factors that cause cardiovascular disease. Awareness of these risk factors and their impact on heart health is a major step in preventing heart attacks.

The majority of deaths can be prevented by healthy eating, regular exercise and no smoking. These lifestyle habits are the key actions in preventing heart attacks.

This year for World Heart Day we are raising awareness of the actions that families can take at home to prevent premature deaths due to heart disease.

These are some of the actions:
*Ban smoking from home

* Stock your home with healthy food for health eating.
Click Here for a guide to healthy eating and shopping.

*Limit the amount of time spent sitting for leisure- Less than two hours of watching TV

*Increase physical activity- Go cycling, hiking or on walking trips
* Walk or bicycle instead of using the car whenever possible
Click Here for easy ways to keep physically active

*Have your blood pressure, glucose levels and cholesterol checked by a health professional

*Assess your weight health using the body mass index (BMI)
Click Here to start

If your body mass index is over 25, plan to lose 5-10% of body, this applies to each member of the family.
Click here to start.

The Warning Signs
Over 70% of heart emergencies occur in the home with another family member present.
Knowing the warning signs of a heart attack can save the life of a family member.

The warning signs are:
-Chest discomfort
-Discomfort or pain spreading to one or both arms, the back, the neck, jaw or stomach
-Shortness of breath without discomfort
-Shortness of breath with discomfort
-Cold sweats
-Nausea or vomiting
-Unexplained weakness

If you suspect a person is having a heart attack, call for emergency help immediately.

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