February is American Heart Month and it kicks off with National Wear Red Day (2/7) to raise awareness about heart health.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. It claims the lives of about 647,000 Americans each year – that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.
Here are some recommendations from our Commissioner of Health, Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert:
- Get active: for adults, 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, like brisk walking or bicycling, every week is recommended. Remember to check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and fewer processed foods.
- Eat foods low in saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol, and high in fiber to help prevent high cholesterol.
- Limit salt (sodium) to help lower your blood pressure.
- Limit your intake of sugar-sweetened beverages to help prevent type 2 diabetes. Also, save sweets and desserts for special occasions, and keep portions small.
- Read the nutrition facts label on the food you eat, and pay attention to serving size.
- Talk to your doctor about how often to get your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar checked, and about how your numbers affect your risk for heart disease.
- If you’re taking medication to treat high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes, follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.
- Quit smoking (and stay away from secondhand smoke). Call Put It Out Rockland at (845) 364-2651 for help with quitting and low-cost nicotine patches that can double your chances of being successful, or call the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866- NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487).
- If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation. This means no more than one drink a day for women; no more than two drinks a day for men.