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Be good to your heart

By Elean Gersack

It’s February and that means it is National Heart Month. We should be good to our hearts throughout the year, but this month marks a time to give it some extra love and make a commitment to improve heart health. Taking simple steps can help care for your heart.

Eat Right – Make a plan to better your food intake. Pick fresh and healthy over fried and fatty. Remember, we are what we eat!

Get Busy – Start a new workout class, join a team, or simply get walking. Small changes can really add up. Do something with a friend to make it more fun.

Watch the Extra Pounds – Use a healthy diet and exercise to keep weight in check. Added pounds can be taxing to the heart. Seek the advice of a health care provider for a personal weight loss regimen.

Reduce Stress – Breathe. Keep positive and make de-stressing a priority. Spend time with people who make you feel your best and take a few minutes each day to relax and unwind.

Celebrate, Appreciate and Give – Celebrate each day. Make a difference in your life and in the lives of others. Consider volunteering. It feels good to give.

Know the Signs – Know the signs of a heart attack and stroke. According to the American Heart Association, heart attack symptoms can include: uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back; pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach; shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort; and breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

The most common symptom in men and women is chest pain or discomfort. But women are more likely to experience other symptoms like shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. Stroke symptoms include face drooping, arm weakness, and speech difficulty. Call 911 and get help immediately for heart attack and stroke symptoms.

Did you know … heart disease kills more women than all cancers combined? Wear Red on National Wear Red Day, Friday, February 7, to show your support.

Learn more about heart disease at the American Heart Association, www.heart.org.

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