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  • Writer's pictureSERHA Jamaica

February is Heart Month

Kingston, Jamaica. Tuesday, February 13, 2024: The South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) is encouraging Jamaicans to maintain a heathy heart to improve their overall wellbeing. Embracing a healthy lifestyle at any age can prevent heart disease and lower one’s risk for a stroke or heart attack. Heart disease includes problems with your heart rhythm or pulse (arrhythmias), weakness or ineffective pumping of the heart muscle (heart

failure, cardiomyopathy), narrowing or blockage of the blood vessels that supply the heart (Ischemic heart disease or heart attack), and defects of the heart walls and valves, among other conditions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the second leading cause of death, and about 1 in 5 heart attacks are silent. Therefore, members of the public are being urged to engage in healthy behaviours to reduce the incidence of severe heart conditions, including:

  • Preparing meals that are balanced in nutrients. Lower your intake of salt, sugar and fat in meals.

  • Know your numbers. Get screened for high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, Body Mass Index and other health screenings so that you can be aware of your health status and receive early treatment.

  • Quit smoking and excessive drinking of alcohol.

  • Know your history. Family history and genetics play a role in the development of heart- related challenges. Do your research to find out if any of your older relatives from either side of the family have heart conditions.

  • Get moving. Being physically active is a sure way to care for your heart. Exercise lowers blood pressure, strengthens heart muscles, and prevents the development of heart-related diseases.

  • Sleep. According to the CDC, getting enough sleep is critical for your heart health. Sleeping less than seven hours each night increases the risk of a heart attack or heart disease. Take your sleep time seriously.

The Ministry of Health and the Regional Health Authorities continue to promote the Know Your Numbers initiative, which is aimed at helping Jamaicans know their health status in order for them to receive proper treatment and be less susceptible to critical illnesses such as heart attacks, hospitalisation, and in more severe cases, death. Heart Month is observed annually during the month of February to promote cardiovascular health and raise awareness about heart disease. Together, let’s make every heartbeat count.

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