Go Red for heart health! is Morrow County Hospital’s February message

Story and photos by Alberta Stojkovic

February 11, 2014

Morrow County Hospital’s meeting room was lined from wall to wall with red balloons and decorations to carry the message that every person needs to be informed about the symptoms of heart disease and needs to have information about what they can do to live a healthy lifestyle. That’s because every year, heart disease claims the lives of close to half a million women. Heart disease is the number one killer of American women.

Know your numbers and know the risk factors for heart disease that you can control. That means knowing what your numbers for blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol and Body Mass Index (BMI) mean. That was the message that the Morrow County Hospital and the hospital cardiology team brought to the crowd that attended the “Go Red” breakfast for heart health last Friday morning.

Morrow County Hospital (MCH) Public Relations Director, Lois Peoples introduced MCH Interventional Cardiologist, Dr. Imtiaz Ahmed, M.D. and the hospital’s heart and vascular team.

Dr. Ahmed noted that it’s vital both men and women know what factors put people at risk for heart disease. There are two factors over which we have no control. Those are our genetic make-up and our age. Factors we can be more aggressive to change are: get some exercise, stop smoking, watch for symptoms of diabetes, and know your cholesterol and blood pressure numbers.

Dr. Ahmed pointed out that high blood pressure is known as the “silent killer” because it has no symptoms. The first symptom of high blood pressure can be a stroke.

“Know your blood pressure numbers. I would rather see you in my office than in the hospital,” said Dr. Ahmed. “I spend a lot of time on prevention with my patients.”

He added that the lifestyle we live is very important in controlling the risk factors for heart disease. If you are a smoker – resolve to quit. Read the labels on foods and watch for high sodium in foods. Have your blood tested to see if your cholesterol levels put you at risk. High blood pressure is also a big factor that should be monitored regularly and if medication is needed, it should be used as directed. Glucose levels are another indicator that should be checked regularly, especially if diabetes is in your family.

We all need to be more active and get exercise. Whether it’s walking, climbing the stairs, or other physical activity, exercise helps control weight, keeps strength, and helps lower the risk for high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.

American Heart Assoc. information given for the warning signs for Heart Disease and Stroke are: chest pain or discomfort that lasts more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back, discomfort or pain in one or both arms, the back, neck jaw or stomach, shortness of breath, and other signs that may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness. If you or someone you’re with has chest pain or discomfort with one or more of those symptoms, don’t wait more than a few minutes to call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away.