Wellness Wednesday – Million Hearts® 2022 with Nurse Lauren
Hi there, Nurse Lauren here with your Wellness Wednesday tip! It’s February and this month we are going to talk all about your heart! This week I have two things to discuss. First, I want to tell you about Million Hearts® a national initiative established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by the year 2022. Second, we’ll chat about high blood pressure and sodium intake.
For the next five years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will co-lead the charge to engage, optimize care, and improve outcomes. To achieve this unprecedented goal, educating people on the main steps to having and keeping a healthy heart is key. Knowing the risks and making lifestyle choices to stay healthy are the most important steps. Obesity, inactivity, high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol. and diabetes are all risks for cardiovascular disease. Many of these risks can be prevented and controlled. Million Hearts® promotes talking with your healthcare team about the ABCS. A = taking aspirin when appropriate; B = Blood Pressure Control; C = Cholesterol Management; S = Smoking Cessation. Many Americans do not know if they have high blood pressure or high cholesterol so it is important to see your health care provider and find out these levels. Once you know, you can make a plan that suits your needs.
How can you control your blood pressure? Making changes in your lifestyle can help you control your blood pressure and in turn lower your risks for the harmful effects high blood pressure can have. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a healthy diet consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables and foods that are low in sodium, total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. Strive to be active three times a day, five days a week by taking a brisk 10 minute walk. Absolutely quit smoking or do not start if you do not smoke.
Cutting back on your daily sodium intake is an important tip to controlling blood pressure and keeping a healthy heart. Did you know 9 out of 10 children in the United States consume more sodium than is recommended and 1 in 9 kids already has high blood pressure? How is this happening? Pizza, chicken nuggets, sandwiches, bread, and chips are all high in sodium. They also happen to be the most popular items on Kid’s Menus and in the grocery store. Some quick tips to try and reduce the salt in your life or in your child’s: read labels in the grocery store. Select lower sodium options. When ordering in a restaurant, ask that no salt be added to your dish when it’s being prepared. Educate your self on what foods have high grams of sodium (many processed foods) and chose alternatives.
This is Nurse Lauren, contributor of NursesNOW, signing off with your Wellness Wednesday tip. Remember the keys to having and keeping a healthy heart are nutrition, exercise, quitting tobacco use and taking medications as prescribed. To follow and join the conversation about the Million Hearts® initiative: @MillionHeartsUS , #MillionHearts