Affinity Health Plan

  • Health Awareness Series: Heart Health

    February 25, 2016

    Take Charge of Your Health!

    My Plate PlatterDid You Know…

    Heart Disease is the # 1 cause of death in the United States for both men and women. Nearly 70% of all adults in the US are overweight or obese and 50% have at least one other risk factor for heart disease.

    Additional risk factors that put you at greater risk for heart disease:
    1. Smoking (# 1 cause that you can change)
    2. Overweight or obese
    3. Not physically active
    4. Eating diet rich in saturated fats and sugar, and with few vegetables and fruits
    5. Having uncontrolled Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, and/or elevated Cholesterol
    6. Drinking alcohol more than in moderation
    7. Having difficulty managing the Stresses in your life

    Take the on-line Cardiovascular Risk Assessment test: This tool looks at your age, gender, good and bad cholesterol, smoking history, blood pressure, and calculates your risk of having a heart attack in the next 10 years.

    What can I do to protect myself from heart disease?
    There is a LOT that you can do to decrease your risk of a heart disease and stroke.
    1. Increase Physical Activity: Keep it simple and try to make moving part of your daily routine. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk 15-20 minutes every day (all together or in small increments, either is fine), get off the bus or the train one or two stops before you normally would.
    2. Practice Good Nutrition: A heart healthy diet (like the Mediterranean Diet) stresses:
      • High fiber whole grains (beans, whole wheat)
      • Fresh vegetables and fruit
      • Small portions of lean meat, chicken or fish
      • Limit sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages
      • Choose foods with less sodium
      • Use more olive oil (monounsaturated fat – liquid at room temperature) and less butter or lard (saturated fat- solid at room temperature) in cooking
      Try making small changes (one meal a week) and stick to it!
    3. Manage Stress: Identify the stresses in your life and develop a plan to manage them so you do not overeat, drink too much or smoke to calm down. Talk to a friend, go for a walk, take up yoga or find some support in your community. Talk to your provider if you find you are often sad or anxious and are finding little pleasure in life.
    4. Commit to Stop Smoking: Speak with your doctor, there are medications to help you. Additional resources such as the New York State Smokers’ Quitline 1.866.697.8487 or NYC 311 to help you learn the best strategies and best approach to quit.
    5. Alcohol – moderation is best: Cut back on the amount of alcohol that you drink.
    6. Manage Diabetes, High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol: Take control by losing excess weight, eating healthy and exercising, take medication as prescribed by your doctor.
    A word from Dr. Sharon Deans, Chief Medical Officer at Affinity Health Plan:

    Protect your heart. With the help of your Primary Care Provider, you can set achievable goals and develop a heart-healthy plan that is right for you.

    To learn more:

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

    American Heart Association (AHA)

    Mediterranean Diet: A heart-healthy eating plan

    Risk Assessment Tool for Estimating Your 10-year Risk of Having a Heart Attack


    Source: American Heart Association (AHA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

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