Steps to Lower the Risk of Heart Disease

BY BARRY WARNER

Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, Commissioner of The Rockland County Department of Health, is holding models of the heart and circulatory system, during an interview in her office.
Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, Commissioner of The Rockland County Department of Health, is holding models of the heart and circulatory system, during an interview in her office.

February was American Heart Month, a time for raising awareness about heart disease and increasing knowledge about heart attack prevention.

Rockland County Commissioner of Health Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert said the country participated in the month. She noted, “Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States.”

The following are a few steps that can be taken to lower the risk of heart disease:

1. Follow a heart-healthy diet including foods that are low in cholesterol, saturated and trans fats, sugar and salt that can lead to losing weight.

2. Engage in regular moderate physical activity including walking fast, dancing and bicycling for 2 ½ hours a week.

3. Manage stress that can reduce the incidences of depression and high blood pressure.

4. Quit smoking, stay away from secondhand smoke and enroll in the ‘Put it Out Rockland’ Program.

5. Drink alcohol in moderation, which means no more than 1 drink a day for women and no more than 2 drinks a day for men.

6. Chewing as little as ½ (160 mg) of a regular-strength aspirin during a suggested heart attack, can prevent clots and reduce the damaging effects of the attack.

7. Talk to your doctor about how often you should get your cholesterol and blood pressure checked and how the numbers affect your risks for diabetes and heart disease.

Ruppert said, “Heart disease can be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions. Cardiovascular disease is the entity where the heart and blood vessels are affected including blockage of the heart by clots, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes. Heart attack symptoms include chest pain, discomfort in the arms, neck, back, jaw or stomach, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, a cold sweat, lightheadedness or fainting.”

For additional information contact The Rockland County Department of Health at 845-364-2513.