Southwest Health Notes: Nine ways that you can help your heart

This month brings us Valentine’s Day, the mid-February ritual where sweethearts of all ages exchange cards, gifts, romantic glances, and enjoy special date nights. Studies have shown that having close relationships – romantic and otherwise – is good for physical and emotional well-being, but it takes more than love and friendship to keep your heart healthy. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. The good news is that heart disease is both preventable and controllable. If you’re committed to keeping your health healthy, follow these guidelines from the CDC.

The nine ways

Don’t smoke. If you do smoke and you’re ready to quit, talk to your doctor.

Eat a diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and fiber. Avoid trans fats.

Maintain a healthy weight.

Exercise regularly. The Surgeon General recommends at least 30 minutes a day of moderate to intense exercise.

Monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure often has no symptoms, so have it checked regularly. Do this yourself at any local pharmacy and when you have your blood pressure checked at your doctor’s office, find out what the numbers are.

If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Men should have no more than two drinks per day and women should have no more than one per day.

Know your cholesterol numbers. Speak with your doctor about how often you should have your cholesterol level checked.

If you have diabetes, keep in under control.

If you are on medication to control high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, follow your doctor’s recommendations and take what you are prescribed according to schedule.

If you are concerned about heart health, make an appointment with your doctor today to discuss screening and treatment options.

Fall prevention

Anyone at any age can accidentally slip or trip and land smack on the ground in an instant, but falls among older adults can be particularly troublesome. As we age, our bones are not as strong as they once were, and even a minor fall can result in a major injury. In 2010, 2.3 million non-fatal fall injuries among older adults were treated in emergency departments and more than 662,000 of these patients were hospitalized.

Here are four ways to help prevent falls. (1) Get regular exercise and emphasize ones that help build strength and improve balance. (2) Be especially careful if you take any type of medication that might cause dizziness or drowsiness. Speak with your doctor to find out if your prescriptions could be putting you at increased risk for falling. (3) Have your eyes checked regularly. (4) Work on making your home safer by installing grab bars in bathrooms, ensuring that rugs are not apt to slip, using handrails when going up and down stairs, and having good lighting in every room of the house.

Save the date

The 9 Health Fairs are right around the corner. They’ll be held as follows:

Dove Creek: April 5

Mancos: April 19

Cortez: May 3 for more details soon.

Interested in learning CPR?

Southwest Health System (SHS) offers CRP training regularly for the public. The next two classes are scheduled for February 28 from 1 – 5 p.m. and on March 12 from 8 a.m. – 12 noon. Pre-registration is required and the cost is $25. To sign up or for more information contact SHS Education Coordinator Meghan Higman, RN, BSN, at 564-2160. CPR classes are held in the Kiva Room at Southwest Memorial Hospital. SHS also offers Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) for healthcare professionals. Contact Higman for details.

Diabetes support available

Looking for ideas on how to manage your diabetes? A support group meets on the first Wednesday of every month from 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. in the Diabetes Education Room at Southwest Memorial Hospital (South Campus Building.) This meeting is free and open to anyone who has Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Contact Michael Dohn, RN, CDE, at 564-2352.

Bariatric surgery support group

The kickoff meeting of a new support group for individuals who have undergone bariatric surgery for weight loss will be held on Wednesday, March 12 from 5 – 6:30 p.m. at the SWMH Annex Building, 20 South Market Street in Cortez. Share ideas and exchange information with others who have had weight loss surgery at this free meeting. Contact the group facilitator, Registered Dietitian Laura White, at 564-2276 for more information. If there is sufficient interest in the group the plan is to have meetings on a regular basis.

Southwest Health Notes Health News Round Up is a public service feature provided by Southwest Memorial Hospital in Cortez, Colorado. The information provided herein is not intended as patient-specific medical advice or as a substitute for consultation with your personal healthcare provider.