February is American Heart Month which is only fitting due to Valentine’s Day being the day we express to whom our heart belongs. But to use our heart for its many purposes, we must make sure that it is healthy and fully functioning. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in Americans. What is shocking is that the top three contributors to heart disease are high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. With all three of these contributors, African Americans are more likely to have them. The positive thing is that all three of these contributors can be prevented. Just like victory to any war, battles must be won. The battles that we face as a community can be easily won long as we inform ourselves how to achieve them.
High blood pressure is caused by a long-term force of blood against the walls of your arteries. Symptoms of high blood pressure many times go unnoticed which is why it is important to check your pressure regularly. The most effective methods of prevention are moderation of salt intake, limiting alcohol and exercising regularly. Diabetes is a common condition that is caused by blood sugar levels being at unhealthy rates. The best ways to ensure you do not become diabetic if you are not genetically predisposed, are limiting processed foods, stopping or not smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight. Obesity is when your body has too much unhealthy fat that is dangerous to your well-being. To find out whether you are obese, you should always consult your doctor. Preventing obesity can be accomplished by eating a healthy balanced diet and making sure you engage in exercise regularly.
Dr. Bernett L. Johnson, Jr. Sayre Health Center is a great resource for the West Philadelphia community to use to in the battle against heart disease. We provide exercise programs Monday through Friday for our patients and community members to participate in to get healthy. These programs range from Walking Club (Mondays & Fridays 10-11am), Dance Party (Tuesdays 5:30-6:30pm), Gentle Yoga (Wednesdays 10-11am), and Tone & Stretch (Thursdays 3-4pm). These groups are all FREE to our members of the neighborhood and participants who attend 15 classes can earn a gift card! Also while you are around make an appointment for a checkup with our staff to get more information on how we can defeat heart disease together.