Heart Healthy at Any Age

Heart disease is the #1 cause of death in America. The Hope Heart Institute is a Bellevue-based nonprofit dedicated to serving the community through heart disease research and education. At The Hope, we strive to make heart disease more beatable, treatable, and preventable.

There is hope in the fight against heart disease. The first step is prevention. There are many lifestyle factors that we can take into our own hands. Eating a diet full of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day, managing stress, and not smoking are all important components of heart disease prevention.

Other factors, such as genetics, also play a role in a person's risk for heart disease.  While we do not have control over our family history, individuals should take the time to learn about their genetic risk. If high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes runs in your family, it's important to take the extra effort to make healthier choices and visit your doctor for regular screenings.

Alongside prevention, recognizing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack is a key component to saving lives. More common signals such as tightening of the chest, chest pain, or pain and discomfort in the jaw or arm are experienced by many; however, other symptoms can be present, especially among women. These include nausea, feelings of indigestion, extreme fatigue, cold sweats, or any other "flu like" symptom.

Anyone who is experiencing or witnessing symptoms of a heart attack should call 9-1-1 without hesitation. Do not attempt to drive yourself to the hospital.

One of The Hope's 2012 initiatives is to extend heart health education and outreach to older adults. The Hope wants to empower older adults to be advocates for healthier communities and communicate that it is never too late to make a healthy change.

Hope staff take time to visit community sites and provide helpful information and resources focused on heart disease prevention. Retirement homes and senior centers have been locations frequently visited by Hope staff over the last few months. Formal presentations, group discussions, and participation in health fairs are some of the many ways The Hope connects with people in the community.

For Information on how to bring The Hope's educational programs to your community, visit Hope Heart Institute online or contact Carly Meiser at cmeiser@hopeheart.org or 425-456-8715.

—Carly Meiser, The Hope Heart Institute