February is healthy heart month
Shift in Health
BY WENDY M. HENRICHS
Board Certified Chiropractic Pediatrician and Nutrition Counselor
Every year, one in four deaths is caused by heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. It can happen to anyone, even those who are seemingly in good health. I recently experienced this in my family. My younger brother, who was given a clean bill of health by his doctor, had a massive heart attack. Fortunately, he was at home and his wife was trained in CPR. Otherwise, he would be a statistic instead of a miracle. February is healthy heart month; the perfect time to give an overview of the risks or heart disease and how to lower them, as well as the signs of a heart attack. It is also the perfect time to commit to exercising regularly and eating a clean diet.
You are at an increased risk of developing heart disease if you:
1. Have high cholesterol or high blood pressure
3. Are overweight or obese
4. Don’t get enough physical activity
5. Don’t eat a healthy diet
6. You are a woman over age 55
7. You are a man over age 45
8. Your father or brother had heart disease before age 55
9. Your mother or sister had heart disease before age 65
Risks are for the most part under your control. The more of the risks you have due to your lifestyle and family history, the more prone you are to developing heart disease. The good news is that there are things that you can do to prevent heart disease as well as control it if you have already started to develop heart disease.
1. Eat healthy. Look up my Food is Good Medicine article from last year as it has all you need to get started today.
2. Get active. 150 minutes of moderate exercise including weight training each week.
3. Stay at a healthy weight. If you practice points one and two above, you will achieve this.
4. Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
5. Control your cholesterol and blood pressure. This relates to points one, two and seven above.
6. If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
7. Manage stress. Deep breathing, exercise, yoga and meditation are a few methods for managing stress.
A heart attack happens when blood flow to the heart is suddenly blocked. Part of the heart may die if the person doesn’t get help quickly. Often people ignore these warning signs and symptoms, or don’t inform their doctor. Some common signs of a heart attack include:
1. Pain or discomfort in the center or left side of the chest, or a feeling of pressure, squeezing, or fullness.
2. Pain or discomfort in the upper body, like the arms, back, shoulders, neck, jaw, or upper stomach (above the belly button).
3. Shortness of breath or trouble breathing (while resting or being active).
4. Feeling sick to your stomach or throwing up.
5. Stomach ache or a feeling of having heartburn.
6. Feeling dizzy, light-headed, or unusually tired.
7. Breaking out in a cold sweat.
Start today at lowering your risks for heart disease. You can look up my articles for tips to help you get started or stay committed to healthy eating and regular exercise. If you are experiencing any of the signs of a heart attack, don’t ignore them. Call your doctor and/or go to urgent care.
Dr. Wendy Henrichs is a board certified chiropractor and nutrition counselor at Timber Land Chiropractic in Rhinelander. For a complimentary chiropractic, nutrition or lifestyle counseling consultation, visit TimberlandChiropractic.com, Facebook, or call 715-362-4852.