February is almost over. That means Valentine’s Day has passed, Walmart’s discounted chocolate section is almost empty, and American Heart Month is reaching its end. But don’t let that get you down! We still have a week of February left and now’s a better time than ever to check the status of your heart health.
Monitoring your heart health is extremely important, and extremely easy. You can monitor your heart health by: checking your cholesterol, regularly measuring your heart rate, and getting your blood pressure checked.
According to the American Heart Association, adults aged 20 an older should have their cholesterol checked every four to six years. Monitoring your cholesterol level is important because a high cholesterol level can raise your risk for heart attack, stroke, and atherosclerosis (heart disease). To check your cholesterol, a blood test is required. Prior to getting your blood taken, your doctor may recommend a brief period of fasting.
Next, let’s talk about heart rate. Your heart rate tells how often your heart is beating and the strength of blood flow in different areas of your body. Measuring your heart rate is the easiest way to check your heart health. To measure your heart rate, place two fingers on your wrist and simply count the number of heart beats you feel in a 10 second period; then multiply that number by 6. That number represents your heart rate for 60 seconds, or one minute. For adults 18 and older, a normal resting heart rate can range from 60-100 beats a minute.
Last but not least, is blood pressure. I’ve written several articles about blood pressure in the past, so I’ll just give you a short refresher. Blood pressure is the force of blood against your artery walls. There are two numbers you should look for when checking blood pressure; systolic blood pressure (top number) and diastolic blood pressure (bottom number). For an adult, a normal blood pressure reading is less than 120 (systolic) over less than 80 (diastolic). Blood pressure checks can be done at home or your doctor’s office.
All of these services and more are offered at the Grafton-Taylor County Health Department. But this Friday, February 23rd, we will be taking the show on the road. That’s right, to inform the public of the importance of heart health, the Grafton-Taylor County Health Department is hosting a FREE blood pressure clinic outside of Walmart from 10 AM – 2 PM. If you stop by, you’ll have the opportunity to snag a few freebies and get your blood pressure taken by one of our skilled Public Health nurses. We can also schedule appointments for those who would like their cholesterol checked.
If you’d like more information about our clinics or other events we’re hosting this year, please call our office at 304-265-1288 and ask for our Event Coordinator, or visit our website at www.GTCHDWV.org.