nutritionfitnessrecipesplan smartshealthy living

A heart health how-to

Cut your heart disease risk with these simple steps.

quit smokingQuit smoking and avoid second-hand smoke.

exerciseExercise for 20-30 minutes a day, or 150 minutes a week.

check your numbersCheck your cholesterol, blood pressure and weight regularly, and take steps to lower high numbers.

eat wellEat well, substituting fresh fruits and vegetables for processed snacks and fried foods, whole grains for white bread and rice, extra-virgin olive oil for salad dressing and egg whites for whole eggs.

heartRemember that heart attacks can strike even young and fit individuals, so recognize the symptoms and be prepared to respond.




































































How well do you know your heart?

Take this quiz to learn the latest

The numbers tell the story. Cardiovascular disease claims the lives of more than 2,150 Americans each day, which is an average of one death every 40 seconds. While age, gender and family history influence your chance of developing heart disease, you can reduce your risk with healthy lifestyle choices. If a heart attack strikes, your quick reaction can limit long-term damage.


1 During a heart attack, your pulse will feel?

a. Faster than normal
b. Slower than normal
c. Faster or slower, depending on the situation


Answer: c — Heart attacks happen when blood flow to the heart is partially blocked, typically by a blood clot. Where the blockage occurs determines the type of heart attack and the symptoms you will experience.


2 Which heart attack symptom is more common among women than men?
a. Chest pain
b. Jaw pain
c. Arm pain

Answer: b — As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. Chest pressure doesn’t always accompany heart attacks in women; instead, symptoms can mimic the flu or stress.


3 Which fat-rich food actually boosts heart health?
a. Avocado
b. Whole milk
c. Ground beef

Answer: a — The avocado contains monounsaturated fats that can cut bad cholesterol and reduce your heart disease risk. Instead of whole milk, reach for skim or fat-free versions, and trade red meat for lean proteins like ground turkey, fish or skinless chicken.


4 How much sleep should you get each night to prevent heart problems?
a. 5-6 hours
b. 6-8 hours
c. 9-10 hours

Answer: b — While sleep needs vary from person to person, research shows that six to eight hours a day is ideal for heart health — and for overall health. Studies have linked poor sleep to high blood pressure, obesity, irregular heartbeat, stress and other issues.


5If you experience common heart attack symptoms, you should?
a. Drive yourself to the emergency room.
b. Ask someone else to drive you to the emergency room.
c. Call 9-1-1 and follow the operator’s instructions.

Answer: c — If you suspect you’re having a heart attack, call 9-1-1 or your emergency response number immediately. An emergency responder can talk you through the next steps or send paramedics to administer immediate care. And, don’t wait to see if your symptoms improve — prompt treatment can save your life.




Spot a stroke F.A.S.T.

Face Drooping Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.

Arm Weakness Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift


Speech Difficulty Is speech slurred, is he or she unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the

person to repeat a simple sentence, like: “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?


Time to call 9-1-1 If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call

9-1-1 and get him or her to the hospital immediately.




Women’s heart health statistics

The American Heart Association tracks women’s heart health statistics. How does your state rate?

Each day in Iowa, an average of 12 women die from heart disease and stroke. That accounts for 31.4

percent of all female deaths in the state, and makes heart disease the leading cause of death.

In South Dakota, nearly three women die from heart disease and stroke daily. Heart disease is the leading

killer there, accounting for 32.6 percent of all female deaths in the state.



learn more


Find answers to all your questions about heart disease at


Home | | Email Us