February is American Heart Month

In celebration of American Heart Month this February, the Forest County Health Department wants to help increase awareness of high blood pressure, which is often times referred to as the “silent killer.”  Normal blood pressure is 120/80 or less.  Nearly half of the American population over age 20 has high blood pressure and many do not even know it.  You may not feel that anything is wrong, but high blood pressure could be quietly causing damage that could threaten your health.  Certain risk factors for high blood pressure cannot be controlled, such as, family history, race/ethnicity, age and gender.  The good news is that you can do some things to improve your blood pressure.  Don’t smoke and avoid second hand smoke, reach and maintain a healthy weight, eat a healthy diet that is low in saturated and trans fats and rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products, reduce your daily intake of sodium, be more physically active, limit alcohol intake.  

High blood pressure can lead to stroke, vision loss, heart failure, heart attack, kidney disease, and sexual dysfunction.  The best prevention is knowing your numbers and making changes to prevent and manage high blood pressure.  For more information please go to the American Heart Association website http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/

The Forest County Health Department would like to encourage you to increase your activity level this month. Challenge yourself to get 150 minutes of physical activity per week.  This might sound like a lot if you haven’t been active this winter but you can start small with 10 or 15 minutes and work your way up.  If you are looking for a place to walk, try your local school.  All of them allow the public to walk inside during certain hours- you will need to sign a waiver and check into the hours.  You could also try walking on your lunch break or walking in place at home. You can track your times by jotting them on the calendar each day, you will be amazed at how it adds up, even just 10 minutes three times a day.

 Holli from the health department will be visiting each Senior Meal Site this month to offer blood pressure screenings and information about ways to control blood pressure and information about conditions that affect heart health.  February 5th at 10:30-11:30 at the Armstrong Creek Meal site, February 7th 2:30-3:30 at the Alvin Town Hall, February 12th at 11:00-12:00 at the Laona Senior Citizen Center, February 19th at 10:45-11:30 at the Wabeno Town Hall, and February 20th at 11:15-12:00 at the Crandon Community Building. You can also walk in to the health department Monday through Friday 7:30 am to 5 pm to have your blood pressure checked.

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