‘Be Healthy, Stay Healthy’ Issue 1: Heart of the Matter: Protecting Against Heart Disease

‘Be Healthy, Stay Healthy’  Issue 1: Heart of the Matter: Protecting Against Heart Disease

Powered by Access Health, a project of the BPJCC


Between cholent and kishke, latkes and hamantaschen, cheesecake and schmaltz-and-gribenes, the heimishe diet is a smorgasbord of heart-heavy foods which are lustily enjoyed.

This is all good — bon appetite! — but overindulgence may lead to disease hitting the body in the heart. Boruch Hashem, many Boro Park residents have Shas in their heads and bulging wallets in their pockets. Access Health, a special health initiative by the Boro Park Jewish Community Council, is working to keep the heart healthy to enjoy the einiklach gezundheit until 120.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States each year. In fact, one in every four deaths can be attributed to heart disease. The term "heart disease" includes coronary artery disease which can contribute to high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. Since there are often little or no symptoms leading up to these events it is especially important to recognize the signs and take steps to prevent these issues from progressing.

What is heart disease?

Arteries act as highways to carry blood away from the heart to organs and limbs of the body. Plaque can build up in arteries causing them to narrow. As a result, the flow of blood slows, resulting in increased pressure in the arteries or "high blood pressure." Plaque buildup can also lead to clots which can cause strokes and heart attacks.

What causes heart disease?

Many factors can be attributed to increasing the risk of heart disease. Some risk factors are age and family history while others are linked to lifestyle which can be adjusted to lessen an individual's risk of developing heart disease. Poorly controlled diabetes, being overweight, unhealthy eating, physical inactivity, smoking and alcohol use are all lifestyles that can place someone at greater risk of heart damage.

What can you do?

Regular check-ups with your doctor. These visits will include weight, blood pressure and cholesterol screenings which can all be early markers of heart disease

Adjust your diet! A diet high in trans fat and cholesterol, as well as salt, can increase blood pressure and has been linked to heart disease

1. Move your body! Regular physical activity can help reduce your risk of developing heart disease

2. Limit the l'chaims. Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure levels and the risk for heart disease. It also increases levels of triglycerides, a fatty substance in the blood that can increase the risk for heart disease. 

3. Stop smoking. Tobacco use increases the risk of heart disease and heart attacks.

Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women. Heart disease can happen at any age, but the risk goes up as you age. It's important to be aware of your risk factors and take steps to prevent this common and deadly disease from disrupting your future goals.

Photo: Flickr

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