Celebrate World Heart Day 2011

world heart day

You can wear it on your sleeve, or find it in your mouth. It might be made of stone, or perhaps of gold. And if you are among the 17.1 million people worldwide who will die from its diseases this year, it could kill you. What is it? It’s your heart.

World Heart Day is celebrated across the globe to draw attention to heart disease.  Founded in 2000 by the World Heart Federation in Geneva, events include walks, runs, talks, health screenings, conferences and seminars. The theme of World Heart Day 2011 is “Home is Where the Heart Is.”

How can you make yours a heart-healthy home?

First, ban smoking. You may think of smoking as causing breathing problems and lung cancer, but smoking is also a leading cause of atherosclerosis, the buildup of fats in your arteries. When your arteries are blocked, a heart attack can occur.  Celebrate World Heart Day 2011 by investing in smoking treatment for all family members who smoke.

Second, fill your fridge and pantry with heart-healthy food. Make sure that there are healthy options ready for every meal of the day. Focus on fruits and veggies, whole grains, and lean protein. And don’t forget snacks! Try pre-popping popcorn or pre-chopping veggies for go-to between meal munching.

Third, be active! An active lifestyle can be fun to maintain. Try switching your daily commute to bike or foot, plan family hikes and outdoor adventures, or try out one of your town’s adult sport leagues! Dodgeball, anyone?

Not all cardiac events are preventable, and when they do occur, every second counts. For World Heart Day 2011, learn the signs of heart attack and stroke.

3 signs of a heart attack include:

  1. Chest discomfort, especially squeezing-type pain in the center of the chest.
  2. Discomfort in other parts of the upper body: the arms, back, neck, jaw or gut.
  3. Shortness of breath, even if there is no chest pain.

Strokes come on suddenly and without warning.  The mnemonic “FAST” can help you remember what a stroke looks like:

F for face: watch for an uneven smile, a droop or facial numbness, and disturbed vision.
A for arms & legs: look out for weakness, numbness, and difficulty walking.
S for speech: someone suffering a stroke may slur drunkenly, use inappropriate words, or become suddenly unable to speak.
T for time: For a stroke victim, time is of the essence. Call 9-1-1.

If you have a heart condition such as hypertension or are on heart medications it is important to wear a medical ID. Check with your doctor on what they recommend you have engraved on your medical ID tag before choosing a style.

Here are some common ways to engrave a medical ID tag for those with a heart condition.

First and Last Name
On (List Medications)
In case of emergency number
Dr.’s phone number

First and Last Name
Atrial Fibrillation
On (List Medications)
Allergy to (list allergies)
In case of emergency number

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