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February is American Heart Month

Posted by Marilyn Csernus -

One in every four deaths in the United States is attributed to heart disease or stroke, making cardiovascular disease the leading cause of death in this country. According to the Center for Disease Control someone in the U.S. has a heart attack every 34 seconds and each minute someone dies from a heart-related event. Although these statistics are alarming, lifestyle measures can play a significant role in improving health and decreasing risk for cardiovascular disease.

Certain risk factors for cardiovascular disease are not modifiable. Having a family history of heart disease and age are not risk factors we have control over. On the other hand, risk factors such as cholesterol levels, blood pressure, weight, physical activity level, diabetes control and tobacco use are known as modifiable risk factors, which we do have some control of. Having diabetes significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease which provides even more incentive to maintain good control over those blood glucose readings!

Knowing your numbers for cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose and weight are important indicators for risk of future heart disease. These numbers are affected by our everyday habits such as food choices and physical activity habits. Eating a heart healthy diet and staying physically active can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.

To learn more about how to decrease risk factors for cardiovascular disease join University of Illinois Extension Nutrition and Wellness Educator, Marilyn Csernus, MS, RD for Meals for a Healthy Heart, a series of two sessions designed for anyone interested in preventing or managing heart disease. In each session, participants receive recipes, watch cooking demonstrations, taste foods, and learn about proper diet & physical activity to better care for their health. The Meals for a Healthy Heart program aims to improve your overall well-being and complement the recommendations of your health care provider.

Meals for a Healthy Heart will be offered February 19 and 26, 2014 from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM at the Boone County Extension office located at 205 Cadillac Court, Unit 3 in Belvidere and again March 13 and 20, 2014 from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM at the Ogle County Extension office located at 421 W. Pines Road in Oregon. The fee for the two session program is $15 per person and pre-registration is preferred. For more information visit the University of Illinois Extension website at or call the Ogle County Extension Office at (815) 732-2191.

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