THURSDAY will be the start of Heart Month, which is being promoted by The Heart Foundation of Jamaica to send an urgent wake-up call and increase awareness as the risk of heart disease increases locally.
The foundation said the month serves as an opportunity for Jamaicans to reflect on the importance of taking ownership of their heart health through exercise and learning more about a healthy lifestyle.
Information from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a “man's disease,” around the same number of women and men die each year of heart disease.
As such, it is critical that we make small changes to our diets to improve our heart health and ultimately reduce the risk of heart disease and other complications such as heart attack, arrhythmia, heart failure and stroke which may occur.
Medical conditions that put people at a higher risk for heart disease include high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, overweight and obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity and excessive alcohol use.
To reduce your chances of getting heart disease, it is important to know your blood pressure, to test for diabetes, quit smoking, keep your cholesterol levels controlled, make healthy food choices, limit alcohol intake and lower your stress levels, or find healthy ways to cope.