PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT FROM ROCKLAND COUNTY–Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert remind residents that February is Heart Month, a good time to learn how to prevent heart disease and stay “heart healthy.”
“Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. The good news is that by living a healthy lifestyle, you can help keep your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar at normal levels and lower your risk for heart disease and heart attack,” said Dr. Ruppert. A healthy lifestyle includes eating a healthy diet, staying at a healthy weight, getting enough physical activity, not smoking or using other forms of tobacco, and limiting alcohol use.
Follow these steps:
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and fewer processed foods.
- Eat foods low in saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol, and high in fiber to help prevent high cholesterol.
- Limit salt (sodium) to help lower your blood pressure. For example, sodium in condiments can add up – choose light or reduced sodium condiments, add oil and vinegar to salads rather than bottled dressings, and use only a small amount of seasoning from flavoring packets instead of the entire packet. When dining out ask for your meal to be prepared without salt, and ask that sauces and salad dressings be served on the side – then use sparingly. The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines recommend that the general population of adults and children ages 14 years and older consume no more than 2,300 mg (milligrams) of sodium a day (about a teaspoon of table salt). The guidelines also recommend that, in general, individuals with high blood pressure, African-Americans, and middle-aged and older adults should limit intake to 1,500 mg of sodium per day. The exceptions to this guideline are people whose doctors have put them on a diet that requires even less sodium because of a medical condition. Always follow your doctor’s recommendation about how much sodium you can have daily. To learn more about reducing salt in your diet, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov/salt/ or call the Health Department’s Sodium Reduction in Communities Program at (845) 364-3864.
- Limit your intake of sugar-sweetened beverages to help prevent type 2 diabetes. Also, save sweets and desserts for special occasions, and keep portions small.
- Read the nutrition facts label on the food you eat, and pay attention to serving size.
- Talk to your doctor about how often to get your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar checked, and about how your numbers affect your risk for heart disease.
- If you’re taking medication to treat high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes, follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.
- Get active: for adults, 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, like brisk walking or bicycling, every week is recommended. Remember to check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
- Quit smoking (and stay away from secondhand smoke). Call Put It Out Rockland at (845) 364-2651 for help with quitting and low-cost nicotine patches that can double your chances of being successful, or call the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866- NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487).
- If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation. This means no more than one drink a day for women; no more than two drinks a day for men.
People with diabetes have a higher-than-average risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Our free 16-session National Diabetes Prevention Program can help you gain the skills you need to make lifestyle changes to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes, if you are at risk or have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes. The next program begins Wednesday, February 22 from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM in Spring Valley. Call 364-2651 for more information and to find out if you are eligible to participate.
Ready to lose weight? The Lose to Win Weight Loss Program uses the latest guidelines to help you lose weight safely and successfully. There is a $10 fee due at the time of registration. Call Nyack Hospital at 348-2004 to find out when the next free eight-week program begins.