Write the word “breathe” on a sticky note. Put the note where you will see it often; on your computer, dashboard, workstation, cash register, or cell phone. Or program it into a pop-up e-mail or PDA reminder.
It is countless the number of times that I hear this or a similar response from patients when the topics of “low salt” or “heart healthy” diets arise during an office visit. The most common medical disease we associate with high dietary sodium intake is definitely hypertension and its been proven in studies that appropriate sodium restriction can reduce systolic blood pressure readings by an average of almost 11 points over time. So it comes as no surprise that the FDA announced this week that they are considering changing the guidelines and recommendations regarding sodium content in food products.
Your diet can impact the way blood flows through your heart and arteries. If you consume a diet high in cholesterol and saturated fat, you can gradually develop a buildup of plaque in your arteries. When buildup becomes significant, blood flow is reduced. If the blockage stops blood from reaching the brain, part of the brain can die and this is called a stroke. When a blockage happens in an artery that carries blood to the heart muscle, part of the heart muscle can die and that is called a heart attack. Use the tips below to help keep your arteries clear and reduce your risk of heart problems and stroke.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for American women. Unfortunately, women’s heart attacks don’t always show the classic signs, such as chest pain. Watch for these signs:
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea (feeling sick to your stomach)
- Back and jaw pain
- Heartburn that won’t go away