Tag Archives: heart disease

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 Evidence-Based Benefits of Workplace Wellness Programs

Workplace Wellness

Great reasons to start a corporate wellness program

Corporate wellness programs are more popular today than ever before. In the late 1970s, a few major corporations kicked things off by launching fitness tracking programs that focused almost entirely on physical fitness. Since then, wellness programs have evolved into holistic programs that include mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.

Today, good wellness programs not only encourage physical activity and healthy eating (which are great ways to prevent heart disease), but they often include mindfulness workshops, lunchtime yoga sessions, tobacco cessation programs, weight loss competitions, healthy living seminars, and health screenings. Wellness programs are now standard components of many corporate — large, mid-sized, and small — benefits packages.

When well executed, wellness programs offer workers incentives, tools, social support, and simple strategies for adopting and maintaining healthy behaviors. Furthermore, research shows that promoting healthy habits to employees and encouraging healthy behaviors through on-site fitness centers or gym memberships, lunchtime wellness programming, health-centered competitions, bike-to-work incentives, and mindfulness seminars are effective ways  to benefit both employer and employee.

1. Healthy, Happy Employees Incur Lower Health Costs

Lower health costs are mutually beneficial for employer and employee alike. Some companies even pass a percentage of health cost savings along to the employees as an incentive or use the savings to keep employee health insurance costs down.

“In a case study of large companies, total medical spending at a company with an employee wellness program experienced slower growth in health costs than companies without a program. Employees saw meaningful reductions in chronic disease risk factors; and average annual savings per employee were $565 (in 2009 dollars), producing a return on investment equal to a range of approximately $2 to $4 saved per dollar spent on the program” (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion).

2. Wellness Programs Improve Productivity

There appears to be a strong link between physical activity and cognitive benefits like memory and focus. A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that employees who participated in a health promotion program and improved their health care or lifestyle regained an average of 10.3 hours in additional productivity annually and saved their companies an average of $353 per person per year in productivity costs compared to non-participants.

Evidence also indicates that instituting workplace health programs can reduce the average number of sick days taken, health plan costs, and workers’ compensation and disability insurance costs by approximately 25%.

3. Wellness Programs Improve Employee Engagement

In a Humana-sponsored report, the Economist Intelligence Unit found that wellness programs help bring employer and employee priorities and goals into alignment. In fact, 69% of those surveyed agreed that health and wellness programs are important to their organization’s culture.

“They [wellness programs] increase employee engagement with the company’s mission and goals. Employees are also more likely to see their own wellness as being linked with professional success. Companies that build a wellness culture thus acquire a workforce that is not only more focused and engaged, but that sees that culture as benefiting their careers.”

If that’s not enough, there’s also strong evidence to suggest that wellness programs can lead to improved employee retention and productivity.

4. Employee Wellness Programs May Decrease Depression

Wellness programs aren’t just for the body, they’re for the mind and spirit, too. Holistic wellness programs can help alleviate depression and the symptoms of depression, leading to higher rates of overall work/life satisfaction.

An article published by the National Institutes of Health revealed that those in the wellness study’s intervention group (as compared to those in the control group) were a whopping 63% more likely to show a decrease in their Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) score.

Depression is the leading cause of presenteeism — poor employee performance — in the workplace. By decreasing BDI scores, employers can help their employees become happier and more productive.

5. Wellness Programs Inspire Healthy Behaviors and Reduce the Risk of Chronic Diseases

Making lasting changes to behaviors is challenging for many Americans, but workplace wellness programs can make a tremendous difference. Employers and employees can enjoy all the benefits that accompany healthy weight loss, including lower cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure levels, and more. Wellness programs can reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, or cardiac arrest, and in as little as six weeks, health risks could decline dramatically leading to a healthier, happier, and more productive workplace.

Please contact Cardio Partners at 866-349-4362 to learn more about our AED packages and our first aid, CPR, and AED training courses — all important components of company wellness programming! We also welcome your email queries; 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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