My Papaw Allen has had a mild heart attack and has undergone angioplasty heart surgery; he also has a slow heart beat. His dad, sister, and two brothers also suffered from heart disease. My Papaw Tipton has had a 5 bypass surgery, a mild stroke, and being the trooper that he is, felt a heart attack coming and rushed himself to the hospital. Additionally, he has type 2 diabetes. Just a few days ago he underwent surgery to have part of his leg removed due to a life-threatening diabetes infection-gangrene.
As you can see, heart disease is in my genetic makeup, but this killer doesn’t only affect genes. Everyone is at risk of a sudden heart attack or stroke, even if you cannot feel the symptoms. The best way to ensure that your heart health is in balance is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Here are some tips:
My Papaw Allen suggests, “Be sure to take your prescribed medication and don’t smoke. Listen to your doctor. A lot of people will not follow the doctor’s orders and go back to their old habits of not taking medication, smoking, or not exercising. Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy diet are the easiest ways to keep your heart healthy.”
The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of exercise a day. If you’re a busy person, like me, you can split up your workouts into 10 minute intervals throughout the day.
The small things add up to extraordinary health benefits. Taking the stairs, parking far away from a store to take more steps, doing calf raises while cooking dinner, and stretching for a few minutes before you start your day are simple ways to stay fit and energized.
Have a pet? Take your pet out for a walk! Walking with your pet can burn up to 30% more calories compared to walking alone!
As a fitness and nutrition enthusiast, I have seen that eating non-processed, baked foods is the best way to maintain heart health. Greasy, artificial foods cause bad cholesterol and increased blood pressure.
Another great “step” (literally!) towards heart health is participating in your local American Heart Association Heart Walk! On October 30 I will be walking in the Tri-Cities Heart Walk with my team, “Jurnee’s Journey” in honor of my Papaw Tipton and Papaw Allen. I highly encourage you to come out and help us walk to beat heart disease! My goal is to rally at least 10 team members! If you are unable to attend, you can still visit http://tri-citiesheartwalk.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=452179&lis=0&kntae452179=FB264F468E974C04A538696E9786EC84 to make a contribution towards my fundraising goal of $1,500.
Papaw Tipton is recovering very well! He and I talked about NASCAR and school when I went to visit him in the hospital just yesterday. God has a reason for everything and we are relying on prayer for his full recovery.
Heart disease affects us all but we can fight this #1 killer and win the battle! The more people that rally around a cause, the more likely positive, effective change will occur.
Jurnee CarrMiss Teen International 2011