Heart Health

Jackie Ross, left, and Kathryn Hawley are shown above. The two nurse educators have joined forces to offer heart-healthy information to the public during February.

MARYVILLE, Mo. — During February, health care professionals Jackie Ross and Kathryn Hawley have offered ways to improve heart health discussing heart attack, stroke and risk factor for heart disease.

“As health care professionals, our goal is to help our community learn and practice the lifestyle changes that will prevent illness, not just treat it after it happens,” Ross said.

According to the two, not all heart disease is preventable, but adopting a healthy lifestyle is the best defense. More than 80 percent of sudden heart attacks may be prevented if the conditions that lead to the attack are diagnosed early enough to prescribe treatment and lifestyle changes.

The American Heart Association advocates “Life’s Simple 7” to help improve heart health which includes: manage blood pressure; control cholesterol; reduce blood sugar; get active; eat a healthy diet; lose weight; and stop smoking.

Improving heart health can ultimate help to reduce plaque build-up. That build-up is the result of fat and calcium deposits found in arteries that can slow blood flow and/or lead to a blood clot, potentially causing a heart attack. A cardiac calcium score is used to help calculate the risk of developing coronary artery disease by measuring the amount of calcified plaque in coronary arteries. SSM Health St. Francis Hospital has a heart scan that can take images of the heart to provide a heart calcium score based upon a doctor’s recommendation.

The earlier a warning sign is detected, the more control a person will have over reducing risk. Ross and Hawley suggest taking the needed steps to improve heart health and find out what tests are right for each person. Maintain regular visits with a physician and striving to work toward “Life’s Simple 7.” Overall health benefits will increase a result of adequate self-care. For more information, visit the American Heart Association at www.heart.org.

Jackie Ross, community resource nurse at SSM Health St. Francis Hospital, and Kathryn Hawley, RN and health educator at the Nodaway County Health Department have partnered to bring health information to the public during February - American Heart Month.

Follow us onTwitter@TheDailyForum