Oswego County Health Department Raises Awareness of Heart Health
February is American Hearth Health Month and the Oswego County Health Department is working to raise awareness about cardiovascular care. The department provides programs and health education presentations across the county to help inform residents how to reduce high blood pressure and other health issues.
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and nearly half of adults have high blood pressure – which is the leading cause of heart attacks and strokes. (https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/index.htm).
“It’s essential to talk with your health care provider about what your blood pressure numbers are and what those numbers mean for your health,” said Oswego County Public Health Director Vera Dunsmoor. “Knowing your family medical history and taking proactive steps is key to managing your heart health.”
This also includes regular exercise and a healthy diet made up of foods low in fats and sodium. Certain foods are often recommended for heart health such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains and protein-rich foods that are low in fat. Diets should limit added sugars, salt, and alcohol. People should consult with their health care provider before making any diet changes.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also recommends that people learn how to read nutrition labels to help them make informed choices at the grocery store. (https://www.fda.gov/food/new-nutrition-facts-label/how-understand-and-use-nutrition-facts-label)
Adults should try to fit 150 minutes of moderate physical activity into their schedules each week. This can include brisk walking, water aerobics, gardening, or biking – among other things.
Another factor that impacts cardiovascular health is smoking.
“A lot of people also don’t realize how much smoking negatively affects their heart – at any age,” said Oswego County Associate Public Health Educator Diane Oldenburg. “This includes vaping, which has gone up in popularity in recent years, especially with teens. Long-term use of electronic cigarettes or vaping products can significantly impair the function of the body’s blood vessels.”
The Catch My Breath presentation provides information about how vaping affects heart health and overall mental well-being. Seminars are available from the Oswego County Health Department for classrooms in county school districts and for parents as well.
The department also offers a Healthy Living Workshop. This program is designed for adults aged 18 and older who are living with a chronic condition or caring for someone with a chronic condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, cancer, obesity or depression. It is an interactive, peer-led program that consists of six weekly sessions, each running two and a half hours.