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Get your heart in good health

DALLAS POST TRIBUNE — About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year.

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By Dallas Post Tribune Staff

About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year. But that doesn’t have to be your fate.

Some risk factors like your family history, sex or age you can’t control. But there are some lifestyle changes you can make to decrease your risk.

Keep reading for four heart disease prevention tips to get you started.

1. Start moving!

Just getting 30 minutes of exercise each day can reduce your risk of heart disease. Physical activity can help strengthen your heart which is helpful in preventing high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

Don’t let the idea of exercising scare you. It can really be as easy as walking. Try taking a 30-minute brisk walk most days of the week. Consider getting a pedometer and make a goal of 10,000 steps per day.

If these goals are tough for you, don’t give up. Even breaking the workout into smaller chunks can offer heart benefits. Take 10-minute walks during your lunch break or do jumping jacks during commercial breaks while you’re watching television.

2. Cut out smoking

Smoking is the number one cause of preventable disease and death. Heart disease is no exception. Smoking or using tobacco of any kind is one of the most significant risk factors for developing heart disease.

Smoking damages the lining of your arteries, leading to a buildup of fatty material (atheroma) which narrows the artery. This can cause a heart attack or a stroke.

Carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces some of the oxygen in your blood. This forces your heart to work even harder to supply enough oxygen.

No amount of smoking is safe. But, the more you smoke, the greater your risk. So decreasing the amount that you smoke can help improve your heart health. Remember, even smokeless tobacco, low-nicotine cigarettes, and secondhand smoke can be risky. Eliminating smoking and tobacco products from your life is your safest bet.

Your risk of heart disease significantly reduces one year after quitting smoking. Your risk of coronary heart disease drops almost to that of a nonsmoker in about 15 years.

3. Eat for your heart

Paying attention to what you put in your body plays a large role in preventing heart disease. Eating heart-healthy foods don’t have to be too restrictive, small choices can amount to a healthier lifestyle.

Use smaller plates when preparing your meals. This is a small tip that will prevent you from overloading your plate and filling up on unhealthy items. Eat larger portions of low-calorie, nutrient-rich food like vegetables.

A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help protect your heart. These foods are usually low in calories and rich in nutrients. This all works to give you better cardiovascular health overall.

4. Know your Numbers

When it comes to your cardiovascular health, there are a few important numbers that you should know. Those numbers are your blood pressure, cholesterol and A1C (diabetes) levels.

Regular screening can tell you what your numbers are. This will help you know when you need to take action to decrease your risk. Here’s why those numbers are important.

Blood pressure. Aim to have your blood pressure checked at least once every two years. High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

If you’re age 40 or older, or have a high risk of high blood pressure, get your blood pressure reading every year. Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).

Cholesterol levels. Your body naturally builds up from your liver. But when there is too much cholesterol, it builds up in the walls of your arteries, causing a form of heart disease. You should have your cholesterol measured at least once every five years starting at age 18.

Diabetes screening. Since diabetes is a risk factor for developing heart disease, you may want to consider being screened for diabetes. Visit your doctor to have a fasting blood sugar test or hemoglobin A1C test to check for diabetes. If you don’t have any specific risk factors for type 2 diabetes, the American Diabetes Association recommends starting screening at age 45, and then retesting every three years.

This article originally appeared in the Dallas Post Tribune

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Why heart health is important for women with diabetes

DALLAS POST TRIBUNE — In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the U.S., killing one woman every 60 seconds. It’s the leading cause of death for African American and white women and, among Hispanic women, it causes as many deaths as cancer each year.

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(Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA)

If you have diabetes, you have a higher-than-average risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. While men and women generally have similar rates of Type 2 diabetes, women are twice as likely to have heart disease.

In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the U.S., killing one woman every 60 seconds. It’s the leading cause of death for African American and white women and, among Hispanic women, it causes as many deaths as cancer each year.

Two-thirds of women who die suddenly of heart disease have no previous symptoms. Women are more likely than men to have the following heart attack symptoms:

  • Pain in the neck, jaw, abdomen or back
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

More than 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease. Women of all ages can get heart disease. While the risk gets higher with age, lifestyle, diet, smoking and hereditary conditions can increase a younger person’s risk.

Risk factors for heart disease include:

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Poor diet
  • Physical inactivity

If you have a family history of heart disease, there are still steps you can take to lower your risk. Below are some important steps women can take to reduce their risk of heart disease:

  • Know your risk factors; have your blood pressure checked regularly, along with your cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Stop smoking
  • Eat healthy, including lean proteins such as white meat chicken and lean ground beef, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Check out the Healthy Eating video at parklanddiabetes.com/healthy for more tips on eating healthy with diabetes
  • Find ways to relax more and lower your stress level
  • Get moving and exercise more. Check out the Move Your Body video at parklanddiabetes.com/move for easy tips on how to get more exercise into your day

If you are a woman who has diabetes, it’s very important to keep your blood sugar within the range recommended by your doctor. If you don’t know how to manage your blood sugar, make an appointment with a health care provider to get more information on keeping your diabetes under control.

For more information on how to keep your heart healthy and manage your diabetes, go to www.parklanddiabetes.com.

This article originally appeared in the Dallas Post Tribune.

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Dallas Post Tribune

Parkland providers urge men to take care of their physical, mental health

DALLAS POST TRIBUNE — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women. Each June Parkland Health & Hospital System observes Men’s Health Month to raise awareness by encouraging men to adopt healthy habits for both mind and body.

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June is Men’s Health Month

By Dallas Post Tribune Staff

DALLAS – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women. Each June Parkland Health & Hospital System observes Men’s Health Month to raise awareness by encouraging men to adopt healthy habits for both mind and body.

According to the CDC, the top 10 health issues experienced by men include heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries (such as road traffic injuries, poisoning, falls, fire and burn injuries, and drowning), chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, diabetes, suicide, Alzheimer’s disease, influenza/pneumonia and chronic liver disease. The suicide rate among American men is about four times higher than among women, according to CDC data. Women are more likely to attempt suicide but men are more likely to succeed.

“This month gives providers the opportunity to educate their patients and their loved ones about the importance of regular health checkups and encourage men to take control of their health,” said Noel O. Santini, MD, Senior Medical Director of Ambulatory Services at Parkland.

Although physical health is almost always top of mind, “We want our patients, men and women alike, to focus on their mental health, too,” said Alejandro Zavala Cervantes, LPC, a mental health counselor at Parkland’s Garland Health Center. “A person’s mental health influences how they feel, think and behave. It also affects their ability to cope with stress, build relationships and overcome challenges and all of these affect their physical health as well as their emotional wellbeing.”

According to Mental Health America (MHA, formerly known as the National Mental Health Association), every year one in five adults experiences a mental health problem and 6 million men are affected by depression. The top three major mental health problems experienced by men are:

Depression: This illness is characterized by experiencing feelings of hopelessness, sadness, loss or frustration that cause trouble with daily life. Depression can last weeks, months or even years.

Anxiety: These disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear, affecting the ability to function day-to-day.

Bipolar disorder: This illness causes dramatic shifts in a person’s mood, energy and ability to think clearly. People with bipolar disorder experience extreme high and low moods.

Despite the prevalence of mental health issues, many people still view the subject as taboo.

“Discussing mental health issues with anyone, let alone a healthcare provider, is often seen as embarrassing or even unnecessary. In my experience, this is especially true in men,” Zavala Cervantes said. “Many of my male patients have expressed being hesitant about seeking help because doing so implies weakness and is cause for shame. As providers we need to erase this stigma and encourage patients to seek help.”

Getting appropriate and timely care can change lives, according to Celeste Johnson, DNP, APRN, PMH CNS, Vice President of Behavioral Health at Parkland. “The best treatments for serious mental illnesses are highly effective. Between 70 and 90% of individuals have significant reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life with the right treatments and supports.”

In 2015, Parkland launched a unique Universal Suicide Screening Program to identify those at risk and help save lives by intervening immediately. “Patients who later die by suicide are often seen by non-behavioral health providers in the days, weeks and months prior to death,” Dr. Johnson said. “U.S. data shows that 77% of people who die by suicide had contact with a primary care provider and 40% had contact with an emergency department provider in the year prior to death. We want to use every patient encounter at Parkland as an opportunity to identify those at risk and provide the help they need.”

Treatments for mental health issues may include therapy or counseling, medications and other treatments that can help people lead healthier lives. In addition to seeking professional help, there are many ways to take control of your mental health including:

Take care of your body: Good physical health can improve your mental health. Be sure to maintain a healthy diet and avoid drugs, tobacco and alcohol.

Exercise: Physical activity helps decrease depression and anxiety and improve moods.

Get enough sleep: Adequate sleep is a necessity, not a luxury. Skipping even a few hours here and there can take a toll on your mood, energy, mental sharpness and ability to handle stress.

Learn how to deal with stress: Stress takes a toll on physical and emotional health. While not all stressors can be avoided, management strategies can help you feel less overwhelmed and more in control.

When to seek professional help: If efforts to improve your mental health seem to fail, it may be time to seek professional help. It’s especially important if thoughts of self-harm or suicide are present.

“We want our patients to know they don’t have to suffer alone and in silence,” Zavala Cervantes said. “We’re here to help.”

If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911 immediately. If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255) or text the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

To access MHA’s online mental health screening tools please visit, https://screening.mentalhealthamerica.net/screening-tools. For more information about Parkland services, visit www.parklandhospital.com.

This article originally appeared in the Dallas Post Tribune

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Gary L. Bond III Receives the Cincinnatus Award from Great Hearts Irving

DALLAS POST TRIBUNE — On May 23, 2019, Gary L. Bond III received the Cincinnatus Award  (Charity in Leadership and Magnanimity) from Great Hearts Irving Academy. At the end of the school year, Gary will complete the 8th grade where he has been active in; Track,  The Debate Team–Public Forum, and Programming–Python as extracurricular activities.

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By Dallas Post Tribune Staff

On May 23, 2019, Gary L. Bond III received the Cincinnatus Award (Charity in Leadership and Magnanimity) from Great Hearts Irving Academy.

At the end of the school year, Gary will complete the 8th grade where he has been active in; Track,  The Debate Team–Public Forum, and Programming–Python as extracurricular activities.

  • In track, he competed in the; 4×100, 4×200, 200m, and the 400m, receiving medals in the; 200m, 4×100, and the 4×200.
  • 2018, Gary received the Duke Tip Award in Texas.

Gary L. Bond, Jr. and Theronica R. Bond are the proud parents of Gary and Theodore L. Bond, the only sibling, is his younger brother.

Gary is a member of Greenville Avenue Church of Christ in Richardson, Texas.

“The Dallas Post Tribune sends a “special” CONGRATULATIONS! to Gary for his achievements during the school year, 2018-2019”.

This article originally appeared in the Dallas Post Tribune.

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