Health Matters: Love Your Heart

by Emily DeLeo

February is National Heart Health Month, so take the time to consider the health of your own heart. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the nation’s number one killer, even for women. Learn your risks for heart attack and stroke and work on healthy changes to lower your risk. You can make simple improvements to your diet, such as cutting back on high-cholesterol foods and eating more fruits and vegetables. Get more exercise on a regular basis and quit smoking.

If you want an easy way to get some feedback on your risks, learn more about making heart healthy changes and even get a free cookbook, then check out the American Heart Association website at and look for the “Learn and Live Quiz.” If you are concerned that you may be at risk for heart disease, please contact your healthcare provider for more information.

Another convenient way to learn about heart healthy eating is to take advantage of the free nutrition consultation on Saturday, February 3 from 10 am to noon at the Lena’s Foods, 3334 N.Holton St. A registered dietitian will offer free nutrition consultation in the store, sponsored by the Riverwest Health Initiative. Information about heart disease and stroke will also be available.

Emily DeLeo is the Community Health Liaison for the Riverwest Health Initiative. She can be reached at 263-8383 x139.

Signs of Heart Attack and Stroke

A heart attack is when part of the heart is deprived of blood due to a blocked blood vessel. Signs of a heart attack include:

§ Chest pain or discomfort (feeling of pressure, squeezing or fullness)

§ Discomfort in parts of the upper body (arms, neck, jaw or back)

§ Shortness of breath

§ Feeling light-headed or nauseous

A stroke is when a part of the brain is deprived of blood due to a burst or blocked blood vessel. Signs of a stroke include:

§ Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, on one side of the body

§ Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding

§ Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes

§ Sudden trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance

§ Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

Call 9-1-1 immediately at the signs of heart attack or stroke. Early medical treatment is the best hope and every minute counts!

Riverwest Currents online edition – February, 2007