Get to the Heart of Heart Disease

February 01, 2017

We can fill, warm, break, change and give our hearts, but perhaps the most important role of a heart to have is to be a healthy and it’s up to us to make sure it is. Heart disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States, with one in four deaths caused by heart disease. February is dedicated celebrating not only the metaphorical purpose of a heart, but also its physical purpose. 

In honor of American Heart Month, AltaMed wants to make sure you’re aware that heart disease, which includes cardiac arrest and stroke, can be easily prevented. To make sure your heart is in the right place, you can start by making some healthy lifestyle choices, and by talking to your PCP about how to manage conditions that could put you at risk.

Here are a few quick and easy changes you can begin today! 

 

Don’t Pass the Salt

  • Choose fresh (e.g., fruits and veggies) over processed (e.g., frozen and canned) foods.
  • Pay attention to nutrition labels and opt for items with a daily sodium value of 5 percent or less.
  • Use spices like garlic or onion powder, chili or herbs instead of salt, to add flavor.

 

Get Moving

  • Make physical activity a part of your daily life; obesity is a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
  • Start with 15 minutes of brisk walking at least 3 to 4 days a week.
  • Work up to at least 2 ½ hours of exercise a week.

 

Know Your Numbers

  • Maintain a healthy weight—losing just 10 pounds, if you are overweight, can lower your risk of heart disease.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation: at most, one drink a day for women, two for men.
  • Keep an eye on your cholesterol and blood pressure, and talk to your PCP about how to lower both.

 

Alter Your Patterns

  • Switch to non- or low-fat dairy products.
  • Opt for fish, chicken without skin, and lean cuts of beef or pork.
  • Quit smoking. It’s the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S. 

 

It will take commitment and dedication to follow through on these changes, but the benefits far outweigh any costs. Get your family involved to help you stay motivated, and watch as everyone’s health improves. Also, be sure to wear red not just on Valentine’s Day, but also on February 3, as part of National Wear Red Day, which aims to raise awareness in women about the importance of heart health.  

 

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Spring Into Action!

March 01, 2017

With colder weather and rainy days, winter can turn the best of us into couch potatoes. Which is why it’s good not to just give your home, but also your body, a good spring cleaning. 

There is, however, a right and a wrong way to do this. Don’t just dive in head first—your body has settled into a more sedentary lifestyle so it’s important to take it slow and work up to a healthy weekly exercise schedule. 

Pre-Check All Systems

Spring is also a great time of the year to make your annual physical appointment. You’ll be able to get things like your blood pressure and cholesterol checked out to make sure you’re ready for take off. It will also give you a chance to talk to your PCP about any questions or concerns you might have, and what he or she thinks is the best way for you to get back into a physical routine. 

Be Equipped

Check the soles and overall condition of your athletic shoes. Worn out shoes can lead to injury, so be sure to replace them on average about once a year, more often if you clock in extra mileage.  

Fuel Up

You can’t drive your car without gas and the same applies to your body. This means avoiding processed foods and eating plenty of healthy proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables. Staying hydrated is also really important—the more you sweat the more water you need to drink, about four to six ounces of water for every 15 minutes of exercise.

Walk Before You Run

Take it slow and start off with a brisk walk 10 minutes a day, at least three to four times a week. Once that feels comfortable, increase by five-minute intervals weekly until you’re up to about 30 to 40 minutes. A month of conditioning will build up flexibility and endurance, which is necessary before moving on to more strenuous activities.

Stretch It Out

 It’s just as important to cool down as it is to warm up. Stretching increases blood flow to the muscles and can help prevent post-workout soreness. Once your heart rate has slowed down after cooling off, you’ll want to stretch the muscles you just used. Hold every stretch for at least 30 to 60 seconds, two to three times. For intense stretches go no longer than 15 seconds. If you did overdo it, practice RICE: rest, ice, compression and elevation. 

Stick to a Plan

Set realistic daily and weekly goals for how long and how often you’d like to be active. It’ll make it harder for you to give up if you get a family member or friend on board, too. Remember, just the fact that you’re making an effort to get moving a few times a week is great. 

 

Let Us Be Your One Shot Stop

February 01, 2017

Imagine being able to tell your children they’ve got a superpower. It may not be as exciting as reading minds or flying, but if they get all their vaccinations according to schedule they’ll be immune to over 14 different diseases. Here at AltaMed we think that’s pretty heroic. 

Vaccines are the most successful and practical way to prevent diseases like the measles and whooping cough, and according to the Centers for Disease Control, the United States currently has the safest and most effective vaccine supply in its history. 

Getting your child vaccinated is important for their health and the health of your entire community in order to prevent possible outbreaks. Most vaccines need to be given before your child reaches 2 years of age, and your AltaMed provider is here to help you create an immunization plan. Children and adolescents also need vaccines between age 9 and 13. Your child’s wellness exams are a great time to check in and make sure you’re on track. 

Did You Know Vaccines…


…can save your child’s life?

…are safe and effective?

…protect others from spreading harmful diseases?

…save time and money by preventing missed school/work and possible medical/hospital bills if your child gets sick?

…are typically covered by health insurance plans or are available at no cost to low-income families?

…protect future generations by hopefully one day eliminating these diseases from our world?

 

For more information or to schedule an appointment with your provider call (888) 499-9303