Category Archives: Heart Health

How Can I Prevent a Stroke?

Did you know that a majority of strokes are preventable? According to the American Stroke Association, up to 80% of strokes can be prevented by not smoking, making healthy food choices, getting enough physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, and treating chronic conditions such as high blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure.

We’ve already covered the Key Differences Between a Heart Attack, Sudden Cardiac Arrest, and Stroke but in observance of American Stroke Month, we’re going to share some important facts about stroke, the warning signs of a stroke, and dive into a few ways you can reduce your likelihood of having a stroke.

5 Key Facts About Stroke

FACT #1: Stroke kills brain cells

A stroke happens when a clot or rupture interrupts blood flow to the brain. Without oxygen-rich blood, brain cells die.

FACT #2: There are three types of stroke

  • Ischemic (caused by a clot)
  • Hemorrhagic (caused by a rupture)
  • Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) or “mini-stroke” (caused by a temporary blockage)

FACT #3: About one in four stroke survivors is at risk for another

Fortunately, up to 80% of second clot-related strokes may be preventable.

FACT #4: Prevention is key

If you’ve already had a stroke, create a plan with your doctor to prevent another. Your plan may include managing high blood pressure and discussing aspirin (which is a blood thinner) or other medications. If you are at elevated risk for stroke due to chronic health conditions like high cholesterol, blood sugar, or blood pressure, you may want to discuss ways to manage your condition with your doctor.

FACT #5: Time lost is brain lost

Some brain cells start dying less than five minutes after their oxygen supply disappears, so it’s critically important to recognize the warning signs of a stroke and to act quickly.  

Source: American Stroke Association

Do You Know How to Spot a Stroke?

Face Drooping

Arm Weakness

Slurred Speech

Time to call 911

Ways to Prevent a Stroke

If you read 5 Strategies to Prevent Heart Disease, some of these tips for preventing a stroke may seem familiar. If not, we added a few for good measure!

Monitor your blood pressure

High blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke and is one of the most telling risk factors. Normal blood pressure falls below 120/80 — if you have high blood pressure, work with your doctor to lower it.

Control your cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fatty substance that occurs in blood and it can be produced by the body or found in the foods you consume. When your arteries are blocked by fatty deposits, normal blood flow to the brain can become blocked and may cause a stroke. Shoot for a total cholesterol count of under 200. If yours is high, talk to your doctor about changing your diet, developing an exercise plan, or taking cholesterol-lowering medications

Keep an eye on your blood sugar

A fasting blood sugar level less than 100 mg/dL is considered normal. Make sure your doctor is conducting regular screenings for diabetes, because diabetes more than doubles your risk of stroke!

Get active, stay active!

Aim for 150 minutes of moderate activity each week. You don’t need to do it all at once, either! Go for a quick walk after lunch, take the dog for an extra spin around the block, have a dance party with your grandkids, park as far away from a store’s entrance as possible, take the stairs, and just keep moving!

Eat better

Include fruits and vegetables with every meal. Try to eat the rainbow — don’t worry, fresh, frozen, and canned all count.

If you smoke, quit

We covered this at length in November, during the Great American Smokeout, but if you smoke, it’s time to quit. You can do it.

Make the “I will not have a stroke” pledge today! #StrokeAwarenessMoth

For more information on AEDs, First Aid, or CPR training, visit AED.com or call Cardio Partners at 866-349-4362. You can also email us at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.

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5 Things You Need to Do After a Heart Attack or Cardiac Arrest

Tips for Maintaining Whole-Body Wellness After Heart Attack or Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Regular readers of this blog know that heart attacks and cardiac arrest are not the same; however, some may be surprised to learn that a heart attack may lead to sudden cardiac arrest (SCA.) In what seems like a cruel twist of fate, it’s not at all uncommon for SCA to follow a heart attack. The greatest risk of a post-heart attack SCA is during the first 30 days after a heart attack (Duke Clinical Research Institute). Take heart: in this post, we’ll share a few tips and resources so that you can get back to living your best life and reduce the risk of post heart attack cardiac arrest.

Find a Support Network

If you’re feeling worried and anxious after your cardiac event, take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone. Many heart attack and sudden cardiac arrest survivors experience a host of emotions ranging from joyful gratitude to fear and trepidation. Life after a heart attack or SCA can be overwhelming, and for some may even feel uncertain.

It’s very common for heart attack and SCA survivors to experience anger, depression, denial, and anxiety. These feelings typically last for two to six months,and it’s important to recognize them and deal with them by seeking help. Your doctor should be able to recommend a mental health specialist who specializes in cardiac recovery. Let your loved ones know how you’re feeling, too. They can’t fully support you if they don’t know how you’re feeling.

For the first few weeks, it may be comforting to have someone nearby to help and support you. If you don’t have friends or loved ones who can stay with you, ask your care team to recommend resources near you. In the meantime, here are a few online resources to get you started:

Set Goals for Healthy Living

To minimize the risk of SCA or of having another heart attack — and to maximize your chances for a full recovery — it’s critically important to begin a regular fitness and activity routine as soon as possible. Be sure to consult with your physician before starting an exercise regime!

A few months ago we wrote a blog entitled 5 Strategies to Prevent Heart Disease, and while the strategies covered in the post are great for preventing a heart attack, they apply equally well to life after a cardiac event:

  • Eat a diet low in animal proteins, high in fiber, and rich with fruits vegetables.
  • If you’re overweight or obese, make a commitment to lose weight.
  • If you smoke, stop.
  • Develop a physician-approved exercise program.
  • Get plenty of rest.

“A healthy diet is one of the best weapons you have to fight cardiovascular disease. The food you eat (and the amount) can affect other controllable risk factors: cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes and overweight. Choose nutrient-rich foods — which have vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients but are lower in calories — over nutrient-poor foods. Choose a diet that emphasizes intake of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains; includes low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, legumes, nontropical vegetable oils, and nuts; and limits intake of sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages, and red meats” (American Heart Association).

Find a Cardiac Rehabilitation Program

The Cleveland Clinic writes, “Patients who join cardiac rehabilitation programs have a faster and safer recovery and better outcomes after a heart attack. It is important to follow your cardiac rehabilitation team’s instructions for activity. Everyone recovers at a different pace. This may be related to your activity level before your heart attack or the amount of damage to your heart muscle. It may take many months to develop the optimal exercise program.”

By joining an outpatient cardiac rehabilitation program, not only are you committing to your recovery and living a full life after your cardiac event, but you’ll be doing so with a community of survivors. Many rehab programs are covered by insurance.

Take it Slow

Remember, recovery’s not a race! Your heart, mind, and body will need time to heal. Start by walking and slowly and gradually increase your pace. You should have slightly increased breathing, but you should be able to carry on a conversation. If you’re short of breath, slow down! If you’re walking outside, walk with a partner and stick close to home.

Once you’ve build your resilience back up by walking, choose an activity that you enjoy such as biking, swimming, or water aerobics and work it into your daily routine. Of course, if you are experiencing excessive shortness of breath, chest pains, heart palpitations, dizziness, or chronic fatigue, stop exercising and call your doctor!

Invest in an AED

You’re a survivor, invest in your future. Contact Cardio Partners at 866-349-4362 to learn more about new or recertified AEDs for home use. We also welcome your emails; you can reach us at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.

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#WearRedandGive: Going Beyond Go Red

National Wear Red Day and Go Red for Women is here! How are you celebrating?

Cardio Partners Account Manager, Frank Mannino and his wife Bridget at the Dallas Party on the Plaza, Go Red for Women event.

February 1 is here, and at Cardio Partners, we’re putting our mittens on and gearing up for a day of giving and raising awareness about women’s heart health. Here are a few great ways to celebrate National Wear Red Day. We hope you’ll join us!

Share to Social

Embrace the hashtag with open hearts! Follow the American Heart Association (@AmericanHeart) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (@NHLBI) on Facebook or @american-heart and @nih-nhlbi on Twitter for the latest updates and events.

Snap a #WearingRed selfie and add a few extra hashtags for good measure:

#NationalWearRedDay
#WearRedDay
#WearRedandGive
#HeartMonth
#RedDressCollection
#DíaLucirPrendasRojas
#MesDelCorazón

 

Educate and Advocate for Heart Disease Prevention

Demand change. Cardiovascular disease is still the leading cause of death in American women, claiming the lives of one in three women. It’s time for a stat change. We covered this back in November with 5 Practical Ways You Can Prevent Heart Disease but we’re proud to join the American Heart Association (AHA) in supporting the following initiatives:

Physical Activity Initiatives

Did you know that only 26% of men, 19% of women and 20% of adolescents report enough activity to meet Federal recommendations?

The American Heart Association recently adopted the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines, which state that adults should get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous activity (or a combination of both). So we figure we should, too.

Healthy Eating Initiatives

Yikes! About 45% of U.S. deaths caused by heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes are the result of poor dietary habits. In layperson’s terms, Americans are gobbling up too much salt, sugar, and animal fats and aren’t consuming enough fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains.

Healthy Living Initiatives

Heart health isn’t just exercising and eating right. It’s all that and more. If you smoke, quit. If you haven’t had your annual checkup, make an appointment today. If you haven’t had a good night’s sleep in a while, make some zzzs a priority. If you need to change your relationship with food, take the plunge. If you have no idea what your blood pressure is, check it.

“High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the second leading cause of preventable heart disease and stroke death — second only to smoking. More than 30 percent of cardiovascular events in women are due to hypertension” (AHA).

Heart Strength in Numbers

It’s one thing to make a commitment to yourself to be more active, eat healthily, and lead a healthy lifestyle. It’s an entirely different thing altogether when you enlist friends and loved ones to join you. After all, if you don’t make heart health a priority, who will? A dear friend or family member, that’s who!   

Commit to better health by changing behaviors together. Decide whether you’re going to focus on moving more, eating better, or by monitoring and managing your blood pressure. Then, exercise together, eat together, and keep each other accountable. In the nicest, kindest, and most encouraging way possible, of course.

Sign Up for A CPR and AED Certification Course

We know you’re a loyal Cardio Partners blog reader and you caught our post, 5 Heart-SMART Goals for the New Year. In case you missed it, though, here’s a key takeaway: go get your CPR and AED certifications! You just may save the life of someone you love. To find a class near you, check out the American Red Cross or American Heart Association’s websites. Still need some convincing? Check out 10 Reasons Why You Should Learn CPR.

Donate to Go Red For Women

Let’s put an end to cardiovascular disease, the No. 1 killer of women. Make an online donation to the American Heart Association.

Become a Community Heart Hero

Can’t afford a financial donation? Become a heart hero like Texas Girl Scout Jillian Rash and start a fundraiser for a public access AED for your community. To learn more about fundraising for your AED program, download the Cardio Partners Grant Guide.

Let us know how you’re celebrating WearRedDay; we’d love to hear from you! Please contact Cardio Partners at 866-349-4362. We also welcome your emails, and you can reach us at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.

 

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