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American Heart Month

February 01, 2018

What’s the Number 1 killer in America? Millions of people believe it’s cancer ... or AIDS. They’re wrong!
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) - diseases of the heart and blood vessels - is the Number 1 killer of Americans. Over 80 million people have some form of CVD, including high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
More than 2,300 Americans die of CVD each day ... that’s an average of one death every 34 seconds. Many of these deaths, as well as chronic health problems due to CVD, are preventable. “Some risk factors such as age, race, sex, and family or personal medical history are uncontrollable,” stated W. David Richardson, Health Officer for the Manalapan Health Department. “Other risk factors can be eliminated, or at least controlled, through healthy lifestyle choices.”

  • STOP SMOKING. As the single greatest preventable cause of death in the United States, smoking is a major risk factor for CVD, cancer, chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
  • CONTROL HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE (hypertension). High blood pressure is a “silent killer”, often occurring without any noticeable symptoms.
  • STAY ACTIVE. Regular, moderate exercise helps prevent high blood pressure and control weight, and improves blood cholesterol profile by raising HDL (good cholesterol) level and lowering triglycerides, a fat carried in the blood.
  • MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT: More than 60% of Americans are overweight or obese. Similar to inactivity, being overweight increases your chances of having high
    blood cholesterol and triglycerides, lowered HDL, as well as contributing to hypertension and diabetes. In addition, recent studies indicate that how fat is distributed on the body may affect the risk of heart disease: an “apple” shape (excess weight around the waist, or belly area) seems to increase risk more than the “pear” shape (excess weight around the hips, thighs and buttocks).
  • DIET becomes a risk factor for heart disease when it contributes to high blood cholesterol, a main cause of atherosclerosis, or narrowing of the arteries. 

                         Eat less high fat (especially saturated fat) and high cholesterol foods
                         Replace part of the saturated fat (from animal products, including whole milk dairy products) with unsaturated fat (oils from plant sources)
                         Choose more foods high in complex carbohydrates (whole grain products, fruits and vegetables)
                         Choose a diet lower in TOTAL fat
                         Limit your salt (sodium) intake       

  • TAKE YOUR MEDICATION: When lifestyle changes aren’t enough to lower your risk of CVD, taking blood pressure or cholesterol-lowering drugs as prescribed (even if you feel healthy) can be an important part of a CVD risk reduction plan.
  • Know the WARNING SIGNS of a heart attack, stroke or TIA (“mini” stroke warning).

For more information contact the Manalapan Township Health Department:
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Location: Manalapan Town Hall 120 Route 522 & Taylors Mills Road, Manalapan, NJ 07726
Phone: (732) 446-8345 Fax: (732) 446-1576               

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