February is American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month, sponsored by the American Heart Association. This month is designed to raise awareness about heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. One in three deaths in the US is caused by heart disease and stroke.

Your friends at Tria Health want you to understand your personal risks, and what you can do to prevent heart disease in yourselves and your loved ones.

Know Your Personal Risk Factors

Knowing your numbers could potentially save your life! We encourage you to talk to our clinicians or another healthcare provider about your personal risk factors for heart disease.

  • Blood Pressure Below 120/80
  • Cholesterol
  • Blood Sugar fasting blood sugar of less than 100
  • Body Mass Index less than 25

You Have the Power to Control Some of Your Risk Factors

There are many risk factors for heart disease, some within your control and others outside your control. The risks you CAN control include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Lack of regular activity
  • Obesity or overweight
  • Diabetes

The risks outside your control are:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Family History
  • Race
  • Previous heart attack or stroke

How to Live Healthy

The American Heart Association recommends that to live a healthy lifestyle, you must:

  • Eat Smart: Make healthy, delicious choices wherever and whenever you eat.
  • Add Color: Make life more colorful with fruits and vegetables.
  • Move More: Infuse more movement into your life for optimal health.
  • Be Well: Create balance, vitality and wellbeing through self-care.

If you would like more tips from the American Heart Association, visit: https://healthyforgood.heart.org/

This month, and always, we hope that you better understand your risks of heart disease, and what you can do to take better care of your heart.

National Wear Red Day

Each year, 1 in 3 women die of heart disease and stroke. Today marks the American Heart Association’s 13th Annual National Wear Red Day, and Tria Health is joining the conversation because 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes.

Prevention is the key:

There are a number of things that individuals can do to reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke.

  1. Know your blood pressure and seek treatment if it is elevated (greater than 140 over 90)
  2. Stop smoking – smoking doubles your risk of stroke
  3. Know your cholesterol levels and talk to your doctor if your total cholesterol is over 200
  4. Manage exercise/diet – exercising five times per week and maintain a diet low in salt, saturated and trans fats and cholesterol
  5. Control alcohol use – excessive consumption of more than 2 drinks per day increases stroke risk
  6. Control diabetes – achieve blood sugar and HgA1C goals
  7. Identify and treat atrial fibrillation

Recognize:

If a stroke does occur, the most effective treatments must be initiated as soon as possible. Understanding the signs and symptoms of stroke allow you to seek medical attention immediately. The American Stroke Association has developed the following acronym to help patients recognize symptoms:

F – Face:  Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

A – Arms:  Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S – Speech:  Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?

T- Time:  If you observe any of the signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Note the time when the symptoms first appear.  There are FDA-approved medications that can be given within 3 hours of stroke onset that may reduce long-term disabilities associated with a stroke.

Talk to your Tria Pharmacist or other health care provider regarding what you can do to prevent and recognize. For information about Tria Health, visit www.triahealth.com.

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Today is National Wear Red Day!

Did you know…

  • WOMEN are more likely to die from heart disease or stroke than any other condition
  • 1 in 3 women die of a heart attack or stroke
  • Heart disease and stroke are 80% PREVENTABLE

National Wear Red Day marks the start of American Heart Month and encourages women to become informed and involved to change this statistic. It is meant to encourage all of us to understand our risks for heart disease and stroke and if needed start making changes to lower these risks!  Women are faced with many demands and little time, but it is important that we take time to care for ourselves as well as our family!

Wear Red Day_JamieWhy Do I Wear Red?

My father was diagnosed with heart disease when he was 45 years old.  We have been blessed that he has not suffered complications and manages his heart disease with diet, exercise, and medications.  His early heart disease, however, increases my risk of developing heart disease and that is something I can’t change.  I can change other risk factors though through healthy living:  not smoking, avoiding fast food, and exercising regularly to help keep my blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure low.  Some days it’s difficult to find the time or the will-power and I slip up, but I strive to make those days number very few.  My sister and I are aware of our risks for heart disease and we try to help each other live well and challenge each other to be more active!  We will be part of the change and work to prevent heart disease in women.  So get out your red dresses, shirts, shoes, and accessories to celebrate National Wear Red Day and spread the word!

Heart Disease encompasses many cardiovascular conditions including: heart attack, heart failure, heart valve problems and irregular heart rhythms.  Many of the conditions are due to atherosclerosis, or narrowing and hardening of arteries due to plague build up.  Plague is a sticky, cholesterol containing substance that can slow or stop blood flow through arteries if build-up becomes so large that a clot develops or breaks loose.  When this happens in the heart it can result in a heart attack; when this happens in the brain a stroke can occur.  Take the online Go Red Heart CheckUp assessment developed by the American Heart Association to find out your specific risks!

Written by Tria Health Pharmacist Jamie Killion

What is a heart healthy diet?

Has a physician ever recommended that you follow a heart healthy diet?  A lot of people with heart disease or diabetes are encouraged to eat a heart healthy diet but aren’t given guidance on what this means. We’ve compiled some of the best tips here so you can get started on your heart healthy lifestyle.

DO eat:

  1. Fruits and vegetables
  2. Whole grains such as brown rice and oatmeal
  3. Low-fat dairy such as cheese, milk, or yogurt
  4. Poultry such as chicken and turkey
  5. Fish
  6. Beans and peas
  7. Vegetable oils such as canola or olive
  8. Nuts

LIMIT the following:

  1. Sweets like candy, ice cream or baked goods
  2. Sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda, sweet tea or coffee drinks
  3. Red meats such as beef and pork
  4. Saturated fats found in processed meats, animal fat, coconut oil, etc.

Reducing sodium intake is an important component of a heart healthy diet. Aim for no more than 2400mg of sodium or one teaspoon of tablet salt, per day. For most people, the salt in their diet doesn’t come from the salt shaker but from certain foods they buy. Use these tips when shopping and cooking:

  1. Buy fresh, plain frozen, or canned “no salt added” food. Avoid canned or processed foods.
  2. Cut back on frozen dinners, pizza, canned soups or broths, and salad dressings.
  3. Rinse canned foods to remove some salt.
  4. Choose ready-to-eat breakfast cereals low in sodium.
  5. Remember the kind of food that has more than 1000mg of sodium: fast food burger or hot dog, one large slice of pizza, or one can of soup.

The following apps can be helpful to track what you eat:

  1. MyFitnessPal Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker for iphone
  2. MyDashDiet for iphone
  3. Sodium Tracker for iphone
  4. EZ Sodium Tracker for iphone and Android

Following a heart healthy diet is good for anyone, whether or not your doctor has recommended one. A healthy lifestyle, including a good diet, is the first line of defense for many common health conditions, like heart disease and diabetes. The American Heart Association also lists guidelines for a heart healthy diet and simple healthy recipes to try.

For more information about Tria Health, visit our website.

Reduce Your Risk of Stroke!

Every year nearly 800,000 Americans suffer a stroke.  Currently, there are approximately 6.8 million stroke survivors in America.  The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association recently updated their recommendations on ways to reduce the risk of having a stroke in people that have not previously had a stroke. (Learn warning signs of a stroke)

What are your risk factors?
In order to reduce your risk of having a stroke you need to know what risk factors you have.  The new recommendations urge people to learn their risks.  Some risk factors you cannot control such as your age, gender, ethnicity, or having family members that have had a stroke or heart attack.  Other risk factors include disorders such as atrial fibrillation and certain blood disorders.  These types of conditions require medical treatment often to thin the blood in order to lower your risk of stroke.  There are several risk factors though that you can treat or control, many just through diet and exercise alone.

Steps to treat or modify your risk factors:

1. Get Active
Healthy adults should engage in moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity for 40 minutes total per day on 3 to 4 days each week.

2. Control Cholesterol
Incorporate more physical activity and a diet lower in saturated and trans-saturated fats to lower your cholesterol.  If necessary take a statin-cholesterol lowering medication.

3. Eat Better
The Mediterranean diet is recommended for everyone.  This diet is high in nuts, fish, fruits, and vegetables and is lower in sodium.

4. Manage Blood Pressure
Normal blood pressure is considered less than 120/80.  There are many things that can affect blood pressure.  If you know you have high blood pressure the new recommendations encourage you to check your blood pressure at home.

5. Lose Weight
Did you know that a modest weight loss of 10 pounds can lower blood pressure by ~5 mm Hg? 

6. Reduce Blood Sugar
Excess sugar consumption can not only lead to weight gain, but long-term can lead to serious complications.  Protect your heart, eyes, nerves, and kidneys by cutting down on the amount of refined sugar you consume (such as that found in soda, pastries, candy, white bread, and pasta).

7. Stop Smoking!


Discuss any medication changes with your doctor
In patients with multiple risk factors that are at high risk of having a stroke or heart attack a daily Aspirin (75 -100 mg) may be beneficial.  Aspirin is not recommended for all people to reduce their risk of stroke or heart attack.  Aspirin increases the risk of bleeding, and in many people with few risk factors and at low risk of a stroke this risk of bleeding is too great to support daily preventative Aspirin use.  Talk to your doctor or Tria Pharmacist and take steps today to know your risks!

For more information on identifying and treating your modifiable risk factors go to the American Heart Association’s Power to End Stroke website for their Life Check tool at http://powertoendstroke.org/mylifecheck/main.html.