It’s the end of Heart Month and my last posting in association with the American Heart Association. Since I learned we should only have ¾ tsp of salt every day and only 6 tsp of sugar every day (men can have 9 tsp – unfair!), and since sugar and salt are in everything, I have actually been reading labels and being much more conscientious about what my family and I eat. Consequently, I have actually challenged myself and made progress to become healthier this month. Thanks American Heart Association! We used to think that heart health was something only men needed to worry about, but now we know heart disease, heart attacks, and high blood pressure are equal opportunity health concerns.
Okay, not to be Debbie Downer, but we need to add one more to the list, strokes. A stroke happens when there is a blood clot in the brain or a blood vessel ruptures. Here are some sobering statistics so we can be smarter in our choices.
- One person every 45 seconds is affected by a stroke.
- Someone in the U.S. dies every 3.3 minutes from stroke.
- Stroke is the third leading cause of death.
- Women account for approximately 43 percent of strokes that occur each year, but they account for 61 percent of stroke deaths.
- Each year 28 percent of people who suffer a stroke are under age 65.
- 75% of people don’t know the warning signs of a stroke. Take a minute to learn F.A.S.T. –there is a link to a new App on strokeassociation.org.
Okay, now I am freaked out, and I am the one writing this! But forewarned is forearmed and here are just a few tips to keep you and your loved ones healthier and reduce your risk of stroke. Some are obvious but it always helps to be reminded. Life is precious.
- Don’t smoke and avoid second-hand smoke.
- Improve your eating habits. Eat foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium and added sugars. Remember the ¾ tsp of salt (1,500 mg of sodium) and for women only 6 tsp of sugar ( 24 grams).
- Be physically active.
- Get your blood pressure checked regularly and work with your healthcare provider to manage it, if it’s high.
- Reach and maintain a healthy weight. I know, I know, easy to write, hard to do. But eating healthy is the first step.
- Decrease your stress level. I can only do this by exercising, by taking quiet time in the morning before my family wakes up, and seeking emotional support when I need it.
- Have regular medical checkups.
Stay happy and healthy,
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