Heart disease is not just a symptom of age;
it’s a consequence of an unhealthy lifestyle, and the
time for prevention is now. Heart disease includes any one
of the following: coronary heart disease, abnormal heart rhythms,
heart failure, and others (the American Heart Association Web
site has a link to a long list, for those who are interested.)
According to the Association, heart disease is the No. 1 killer
in America, accounting for more than 40 percent of all deaths
Here are some ways to help reduce the risk of heart disease:
1. Put out that cigarette! Easier said than done, right? Well,
keep this in mind; smokers have more than twice the risk of heart
attacks than non-smokers.
2. Eat right and lower your cholesterol. Instead of ordering
chicken nuggets or loading up on pizza, reach for heart-healthy
fruits and vegetables. Using healthy oils, such as canola and
olive oil, and substituting fish or skinless chicken for beef,
pork, or processed meats can help lower cholesterol.
Don’t know what to buy when at the supermarket or what
to eat when dining out?
Americanheart.org offers recipes and
tips on eating healthy. Log on for suggestions and learn to
stay fit forever, okay, longer.
3. Exercise. According to the AHA, 28 percent of Americans
18 or older don’t get any exercise. Being inactive leads to
a 30-50 percent greater risk of having high blood pressure, which
causes heart disease and affects nearly one in three Americans.
Here are some tips:
Have a gap between classes? Go for a walk or join 24-Hour Fitness
(Bishop and King Streets) or the YMCA (Bishop and Vineyard.)
Most gyms offer a student discount and the AHA assures that
exercising, even at a low to moderate pace, can lower a person’s risk
of heart disease.
Americanheart.org provides programs, such as “Just
Move!” and “Choose to Move,” designed to
help track exercise progress and gives tips for exercise success.
4. Stop stressing! Fretting over an exam or 10-page paper can
cause unhealthy stress levels in students. Campusblues.com
suggests time management and short/long-term goal settings.
20 minutes of “alone time” to meditate or even take
a walk helps.
Most importantly, communicate! Sometimes it helps to just
speak to someone or write in a journal.
HPU also hosts College Survival seminars to help students
of all ages who want to learn to manage stress.