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Success S alud HEART HEALTHY In celebration of American Heart Month, Mercy Hospital is focusing on the devastating effects heart disease has on women and the steps needed to prevent it. T E X T BY RYA N JA R R E LL According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease and stroke cause approximately 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year, meaning that almost one woman every 80 seconds dies from this malevolent malady. In an effort to help curb the effects of this deadly disease, Mercy Hospital is devoting the entire month of February to educate about this silent killer. Inactivity A lack of physical exercise is a major risk factor for heart disease. While ideally a rigorous workout routine should be added to any American’s life, it may be more practical to begin with smaller changes. To add steps to your daily routine, try parking farther from your location. Another quick tip is to set an alarm on your phone for every hour on the hour. When it rings, partake in some quick calisthenics. Smoking There aren’t any “if’s, and’s or butts” about it, this harmful habit is a major contributor to poor heart health. Smoking contributes directly to the buildup of fatty plaque in the arterial walls, limiting the flow of well-oxygenated blood to the rest of your body. Interested in sparing yourself the heartache? Your physician can provide a number of helpful resources to aid in smoking cessation. Stress Wildly increasing among American adults and proven to be a contributing factor of heart disease, chronic stress can lead to unhealthy elevated levels of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol as well as contribute to the prevalence of other risk factors such as smoking and overeating. Try getting more sleep. People who get less than the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep a night report a higher occurrence of stress. For information about the Women’s Heart Event, call 786.449.6183. For a physician referral, call 305.285.2929 or visit MercyMiami.com. 38