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Heart Health
Most commonly, it is believed that heart disease is reserved entirely for old age. However, research has shown otherwise and that numerous middle age people have been affected. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States of both men and women (AHA, 2015). Also heart disease will last a lifetime, so once you get it, you’ll always have it. Fortunately, there is great news, heart disease is preventable. Changes in lifestyle and habits can reduce the risk of heart disease.
What is Heart Disease?
Coronary heart disease, or simply heart disease, is when plaque builds up along the walls of the blood vessels (arteries) that bring blood to the muscles of the heart, causing them to become hardened and narrowed, which in turn lead to a heart attack. That occurs when the plaque in an artery bursts and a clot forms over the plaque, blocking flow through the artery and preventing oxygen and nutrients from getting to the heart.
What are the Risk Factors?
Heart disease has several known risk factors. Most of them are within your control, but there are some that are out of your control. Some of the uncontrollable risk factors include a family history of heart disease, your age, and your gender. On the other hand the risk factors that you have more control over are: smoking, high blood pressure, low amount of physical activity, diabetes, high blood cholesterol, and overweight and obesity.
Smoking slows down the blood flow through your arteries. It does not matter how little you smoke or what brand you smoke; there is no safe way to smoke. However, the harmful effects of smoking are almost nearly reversible soon after you quit. For instance, your blood pressure can go down to close to normal only after a few days from quitting. Better yet just 1 year after quitting, you will have cut your risk for heart disease by more than half. Granted to quit smoking is not easy, but with good planning and even with help from your doctor, it can be done.    
High blood pressure
High blood pressure or as your doctor would call it hypertension, increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and congestive heart failure. Some of the ways you can keep your blood pressure under control are making sure to eat heart healthy meals, reduce your salt and sodium intake, exercise regularly, and keep a healthy weight. Also if you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation. If your blood pressure is still not under control, then visit your doctor who may recommend medication.  
 High blood cholesterol
 Your arteries that supply blood to your heart can become narrowed due to excessive cholesterol and fat that build up in the walls of these arteries.  If not controlled this buildup, called plaque, can eventually cause blockage and completely prevent blood from reaching your heart. You can lower your cholesterol by applying the same routines for high blood pressure which are a heart healthy eating plan, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, and, if needed, taking medication.
Excess weight is associated with numerous other health issues, such as stroke, gallbladder disease, arthritis, and some cancers.  Losing just about 10 percent of your initial weight will help lower your heart disease risk. However, try not to lose more than 1/2 pound to 2 pounds per week. Remember though, losing weight is not an easy and quick process. However it is achievable by adopting a change in lifestyle, a healthy, lower calorie eating plan, and by being more physically active. However if you have a lot of weight to lose, speak to your doctor, a registered dietitian, or a qualified nutritionist for help before starting a weight loss regimen
If you have diabetes, it is very important that you keep it under control. Ways of doing that include modest changes in diet and being more physically active. Diabetes is very common among Americans, and about 11 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes, and worst, another 5.7 million don’t know they have it. If you are unsure of your status, ask your doctor to do a blood sugar test.
Information Taken From: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/
To Learn More
Contact the American Heart Association: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/
April is Alcohol Awareness Month
Alcohol is consumed worldwide mostly during social interactions.  Alcohol is one of the most commonly used and abused drugs.  Alcohol is an addictive drug that may result in the disease known as alcoholism, and subsequently lead to significant individual and family pain suffering and loss.  

According to the Mayo Clinic (2015) alcoholism is a chronic and progressive disease.  A standard alcoholic drink contains approx. 14 grams of pure alcohol(0.6 ounces).  It is a depressent that acts on the central nervous system.  It results in sedation, loss of inhibitions, changes in thoughts, speech and muscle coordination, behavior, judgment and emotions.

Excessive drinking is usually associated  with domestic problems, decreased performance at school and at work, motor vehicle accidents. and increased likelihood of engaging in violent activities.

HOPE LINE:  800NCACALL 924 hrs. affiliate referral)
To learn more contact the National Council on Alcoholism and drug Dependence, Inc. for information, publications, help or concerns about alcoholism. http://ncadd.org/  


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