(FORT WORTH, Texas – Feb. 3, 2020) — February is American Heart Month; and around the nation as well as here in North Texas, Americans are being reminded of what they can do to reduce the risk of heart disease. While heart health is essential at any age, it becomes increasingly important as people get older as normal aging causes heart and blood vessels to stiffen, which can lead to a variety of conditions including heart failure, coronary artery disease and atrial fibrillation (irregular or rapid heart rate).
“Fortunately there are some basic common sense things we can do to reduce our risk of heart disease, and there is no better time than Heart Month to start doing something good for your heart,” said David Sand, M.D., chief medical officer of Care N’ Care (HMO/PPO) Health Plan. “The American Heart Association reminds us that heart disease is still our country’s No. 1 killer.”
During American Heart Month, Care N’ Care Health Plan is encouraging older adults to follow these seven steps toward a healthier heart:
- Maintain a healthy weight. Even being slightly overweight (10-20 pounds for a person of average height) increases your risk; just losing 10 pounds may make a big difference.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet. Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber, which can help control weight and blood pressure. Oily fish like salmon, trout and herring contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Choose lean meats and poultry without skin, and cook them without added saturated and trans fats. Avoid added sugar.
- Read food labels. When shopping, take time to read the labels and look for foods that are low in sodium, cholesterol, saturated fat and trans fat. And remember that ingredients are listed from high to low—the higher it is on the list, the more that ingredient is in the food. So if sugar is listed first, it means the food has mostly sugar.
- Schedule time for exercise. Not only does exercise make your heart stronger and work more efficiently, it helps burn calories. Healthy adults should be getting at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. Physical activity is anything that makes you move your body and burn calories, and something is always better than nothing.
- Stop smoking. Cigarette smokers are two to three times more likely to die from coronary heart disease than nonsmokers. Smoking increases blood pressure, decreases exercise tolerance and “good” cholesterol, and increases the tendency for blood to clot. Smoking also increases your risk of stroke.
- Take prescribed medication. It is vitally important that you take any medication your doctor has prescribed for a heart condition. This includes blood pressure medication.
- Learn the signs of a heart attack. Heart attacks can come on suddenly and intensely but can also start slowly with just mild pain or discomfort. Call 9-1-1 if you experience
- Chest discomfort (may feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain).
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body (one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach)
- Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort (may include breaking out in a cold sweat).
- Nausea or lightheadedness; and women may also experience nausea or vomiting.Even if you’re not sure, have it checked out. Fast treatment can make a lifesaving difference.
“If you’ve already been diagnosed with heart disease, lifestyle changes can improve the quality and length of your life,” said Dr. Sand. “Change is never easy, but even just small adjustments to your daily activities can have a positive impact on your health. If you have any questions or concerns about your heart health, talk to your doctor.”
Care N’ Care is a Medicare Advantage health plan providing North Texas Medicare beneficiaries in Collin, Cook, Dallas, Denton, Erath, Rockwall, Hood, Johnson, Palo Pinto, Parker, Somervell, Tarrant and Wise counties affordable alternatives that improve and simplify Medicare coverage. With both PPO and HMO health plans, Care N’ Care offers all of the traditional benefits included in original Medicare plus additional benefits and services, including a personal Healthcare Concierge to serve as the single point of contact and trusted partner throughout the member’s healthcare experience. For more information about Care N’ Care and its Medicare Advantage health plans, visit cnchealthplan.com.
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Care N’ Care Insurance is an HMO and PPO plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Care N’ Care depends on contract renewal. Y0107_20_214_C