Published: February 01. 2013 2:00AM
Photographed by Cindy Hosea
Unfortunately, this month is not just about the paper kind when it comes to hearts. We all know people who suffer from cardiovascular disease and are too aware of how devastating the results can be.
According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and statistics point sadly in the direction that as a country, we aren’t making the healthiest choices for ourselves.
Nearly 70 percent of Americans are overweight. Almost 20 percent smoke. And fewer than 1 percent of adults — and no children — meet the definition for an ideal, healthy diet.
The good news is that the AHA and dedicated health-care professionals continue to fight to educate people. The work is paying off. In the last decade, we’ve seen a 30 percent decrease in diagnoses of this deadly disease.
That’s great, but there’s no time for rest. There is more work to do.
Each February, the AHA sponsors American Heart Month to raise awareness and funds for the work needed to continue to make positive gains toward eliminating heart disease. The Upstate Heart Ball, held each February, is one of several events hosted by the AHA to raise awareness. With direction from the Heart Ball executive leadership team, professionals and physicians from three of the hospital systems in the Greenville-Spartanburg area have come together to serve in roles to help prevent heart disease in our community.
Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, the Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center and Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System are partnering with the American Heart Association as Heart Society platform sponsors, leading the way this February to a healthier community by providing education, research and support.
Mark Nantz, chief executive officer at Bon Secours St. Francis Health System and 2013 Upstate Heart Ball Chairman, challenges us all to help make up the difference with the AHA’s lead.
“By supporting the AHA, we are helping fund life-saving research, education and advocacy,” he says.
The thousands of people in the Upstate who live with cardiovascular disease are dependent on the help of the AHA and commitment by such teams as this.
Dr. Trey Chandler, a committee member and cardiologist from the Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center, says the efforts put forth by the American Heart Association hosting the Upstate Heart Ball have created an opportunity for collaboration with physicians in the Upstate.
“Working together on health care is what we strive to do and this event helps tremendously by providing a platform on which we can all stand together,” he says.
Having raised $380,000 last year, the committee is positive that the impact of the event will continue to change lives and communities.
Want to go?
• Upstate Heart Ball
• 6:30 p.m. Feb. 16
• Hyatt Regency Greenville
• For more information: https://ahagreenvillesc.ejoinme.org
Take care of yourself
• See your doctor. Schedule an appointment with your health-care provider to determine your personal risk for heart disease.
• Quit smoking. Did you know that just one year after you quit, you’ll cut your risk of coronary heart disease by 50 percent?
• Start an exercise program. Walk 30 minutes a day to lower your risk for heart attack and stroke.
• Relieve stress. Try to do at least one thing every day that you enjoy, even if you only do it for 15 minutes.
• Modify your family’s diet. Check out healthy cooking tips at http://heart.org/nutrition.
• Lower blood cholesterol. Fat lodged in your arteries is a disaster waiting to happen. Sooner or later it could trigger a heart attack or stroke. Reduce your intake of saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol.
• Shake the salt habit. New studies reinforce the American Heart Association’s recommendation to limit daily sodium intake to less than 1,500 milligrams. If you have high blood pressure, always take your medications.
• Aim for a healthy weight. Obesity is an epidemic in America, not only for adults but also for children. Fad diets and supplements are not the answer. Good nutrition, controlled calorie intake and physical activity are the only ways to maintain a healthy weight.
• Manage diabetes. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of diabetes-related deaths. People with diabetes are two to four times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease due to a variety of risk factors including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity and lack of physical activity.
• Limit alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure and eventually lead to heart failure or stroke. The risk of heart disease in people who drink moderate amounts of alcohol (an average of one drink for women or two drinks for men per day) is lower than in nondrinkers. However, it’s not recommended that nondrinkers start using alcohol or that drinkers increase the amount they drink.
|Mark Nantz, chief executive officer at Bon Secours St. Francis Health System and 2013 Upstate Heart Ball Chairman.Cindy Hosea/Staff|