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The Henry County Health Department notes that February kicks off the observance of American Heart Month.  The Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) note during the month of February we tend view the human heart as the symbol of love, admiration and affection.  But this February show yourself the love. Learn about your risks for heart disease and stroke and stay "heart healthy" for yourself and your loved ones.

RaeAnn Tucker, Director of Health Promotion with the Health Departments states, “Cardiovascular disease (CVD)—including heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure—is the number 1 killer of women and men in the United States. It is a leading cause of disability, preventing Americans from working and enjoying family activities.”

Truth is many CVD deaths could have been prevented through healthier habits, healthier living spaces, and better management of conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.  The staff of the Health Department reminds area residents to take control of a number of risk factors for Heart disease:

·         Diet

·         Physical activity

·         Tobacco use

·         Obesity

·         High blood pressure

·         High blood cholesterol

·         Diabetes

Tucker adds, “It helps if you have a plan and carry out some strategies for better heart health:

Work with your health care team. Get a checkup at least once each year, even if you feel healthy. A doctor, nurse, or other health care professional can check for conditions that put you at risk for CVD, such as high blood pressure and diabetes—conditions that can go unnoticed for too long. 


Monitor your blood pressure & get your cholesterol checked. The Department reminds area residents that our Family Nurse Practitioners in Kewanee and Colona can help with the management of high blood pressure and high cholesterol. If you don't know your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers; we have services that can help you see where you stand.

Eat a healthy diet. Choosing healthful meal and snack options can help you avoid CVD and its complications. Limiting sodium in your diet can lower your blood pressure. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables—adults should have at least five servings each day. Eating foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol and high in fiber.

Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for CVD.

Exercise regularly. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. .

Don't smoke. Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for CVD. If you don't smoke, don't start. If you do smoke, quit as soon as possible.

Limit alcohol use. Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can increase your blood pressure.

Manage your diabetes. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels closely, and talk with your health care team about treatment options.

Take your medicine. If you're taking medication to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or another condition, follow the instructions carefully. Always ask questions if you don't understand something.

So remember, this February show yourself some love, and lower your risk of heart disease.  For more information on the “Heart Healthy” services available through the Henry and Stark County Health Department call (309) 852-5272  Kewanee or (309) 792-4011 (Colona)  or visit our website at or find us of Facebook at Henry and Stark County Health Departments or Follow Us on Twitter.  Together, we all can prevent and manage heart disease, one step at a time.

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