Heart Health

Topic:                   Heart Health

Guests:                Dr. Ranae Ratkovec, Yakima Heart Center

Shannon Dininny, Memorial Communications

Date:                     Feb. 18, 2014

February is National Heart Month, and today we’re talking about heart health.

How big a problem is heart disease in the Yakima Valley?

Major cardiovascular diseases – heart disease and stroke – are the leading cause of death in Yakima County.

There are many risk factors associated with coronary heart disease and stroke. Some risk factors such as family history, ethnicity and age, cannot be changed.

Other risk factors that can be treated or changed include:

  • Smoking
  • high blood pressure or hypertension
  • high cholesterol
  • obesity
  • physical inactivity or lack of exercise
  • diabetes
  • unhealthy diets
  • harmful use of alcohol

High cholesterol, obesity and high blood pressure are the three leading diseases we see here in Yakima County, and they increase a person’s risk for developing heart disease.

Heart disease is still the No. 1 killer of women in the United States, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined. In fact, more women die of heart disease each year than men. In terms of risk factors, Latinos and Native Americans have higher rates of diabetes. Even if they’re slim, they are genetically predisposed to have diabetes, which means that population needs to be vigilant about exercise and eating right.

How to reduce your risk:

  • Quit smoking. Smokefree.gov has tips about quitting smoking or ask your doctor for help.
  • Control your high blood pressure.
  • Know your numbers:  Make sure you doctor checks your cholesterol numbers.

High cholesterol can be genetic. Take meds to treat it.

In women, cholesterol goes up after menopause – it’s tied to hormonal changes.

  • Watch your diet
    • Make your plate colorful. Choose brown carbs – rice and pasta – and yams instead of potatoes. People think going on a diet means someday you will come off of it, but assume your diet is permanent but not absolute. Say 90 percent of the time you’ll have brown rice, and white rice is a treat.
    • Portion control – Your body’s metabolism declines by 4 percent each decade after your 30s. As we get older, we rarely get more active.
    • Get active!

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