By ALVIN REINER
---- — ELIZABETHTOWN — Taking care of your cardiovascular system should be an ongoing concern, health officials say, although many people don’t take action until they suffer a heart attack or stroke.
To minimize the chances of that happening, Elizabethtown Community Hospital and its auxiliary provided activities and informational booths during their annual Healthy Heart Day.
The hospital provided free EKGs, blood tests for cholesterol and cancer screenings, as well as healthy recipes.
In addition to medical tests and information, the purpose was to promote healthy lifestyles, such as easily accessible hiking activities.
“This event offers community members the opportunity to take part in a free heart-health screening,” ECH Director of Community Relations Jane Hooper said. “Participants are able to have a blood-pressure check, glucose-level testing and cholesterol-level check.
“They learned easy exercise tips, got to sample and take home heart-healthy recipes, got important health information, viewed various exhibits and talked with professionals about taking care of their hearts.”
Dr. Rob DeMuro of ECH said that taking care of your heart “is one of the most important things anyone can do. There are many conditions that lead to heart disease, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
“If detected early, the conditions are often treatable, lessening the likelihood that heart disease will develop later on,” he added.
In addition to the Healthy Heart Clinic, ECH sponsors a health screening each fall to ensure that hunters will able to withstand the rigors associated with that activity. The screenings include cholesterol, blood pressure, oxygen levels, EKGs, vision checks, body-mass measurements and outdoor safety information.
The hospital also sponsors an annual Women’s Health Night, which offers basic health screenings and information on mammograms, breast exams and osteoporosis.
Located in the hospital’s clinic/physical therapy building, the cardio-rehab program is not only for those who have suffered a heart attack. It’s also designed for people who have recently experienced bypass surgery, stent placement, valve repair, heart transplant, angina or angioplasty and other health issues.
HELPING YOUR HEART
The American Heart Association suggests at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise, or a combination of both, generally spread over five days.
Physical activity is considered anything that makes you move your body and burn calories, such as climbing stairs or playing sports.
Aerobic exercises benefit your heart, such as walking, jogging, swimming or biking.
Strength and stretching exercises are best for overall stamina and flexibility, though the simplest is to start walking.
Diet is another component for a healthy heart, according to the Heart Association, which encourages people to use up at least as many calories as you take in, eat a variety of nutritious foods from all the food groups and eat less of the nutrient-poor foods.
Foods low in saturated fats, cholesterol, sugar and sodium will help maintain the cardiovascular system.
Cessation of smoking and avoiding breathing second-hand smoke are also paramount in promoting a healthy lifestyle, experts say.
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