American Heart Month is celebrated in February, but it’s always a good time to remember to keep our heart healthy. Taking little steps over time can add years to our life and life to our years.
Practicing good nutrition, exercising regularly, stopping smoking, and managing stress are all ways to stay healthy in general, and directly protects our heart too. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Since it is so common, if we know how to avoid it, so much better for our quality of life.
One of the key indicators of heart health is our blood pressure number. For example, a good number to shoot for is 120/80. The top number (systolic pressure) is the pressure of the blood in your arteries when your heart beats. The bottom number (diastolic pressure) is the pressure of the blood in your arteries between beats, when your heart relaxes. Taken together, the numbers tell us our blood pressure reading. If the numbers are too low, we may experience weakness, and feel like fainting. If the numbers are too high, it might just mean that we are nervous about getting our BP taken at the doctor’s office. However, if our numbers run consistently high, over time, it means our heart is working harder than it should be. This condition can cause internal harm, and we probably will not even be aware that it is happening.
That is why high blood pressure, or hypertension, is known as the “silent killer”. If it is left unchecked, it could cause a heart attack or stroke, kidney damage, vision damage, and more. Here are five surprising facts about blood pressure and how it affects our health.
Now, take this quick five-question quiz to check your knowledge about blood pressure. How did you do? It’s never too late, or too early, to incorporate healthy habits into your daily routine.
Did you know that in addition to the doctor’s office, you can get a self-service blood pressure reading at most pharmacies? There are even simple blood pressure machines that can be purchased for use at home. In addition, on the first Friday of every month, staff from Patchwork Central can be found in Central Library’s main lobby to take your blood pressure for free. Stop by, and Nurse John will take your blood pressure and offer follow-up information if need be.
The EVPL is a great place to access the most current health information online so that you can keep up to date with how to improve your health. Be sure to look up the American Heart Association (AHA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for information about heart disease and steps to help manage it. Stop into any branch and we can show you how to find heart-healthy cookbooks, exercise manuals, stress reduction guides, and more. Here’s to your heart health!
Give her a crossword puzzle to work, and Helen is one happy camper. She also enjoys making recipes healthier, developing her green thumb, and tracking her daily steps on walks with her husband.
200 SE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
Evansville, Indiana 47713