• FarmHer's Focusing on Heart Health

February 14, 2019 1 Comment

This guest blog is provided by Linda Emanuel, an RN, FarmHer and Community Health Nurse for the AgriSafe Network.

February is the month of the heart so let's make it be the month you always remember to check up on your heart health. Women tend to dismiss the somewhat vague symptoms and checkups are not a priority...so we've provided a little information below to help you put yourself first!


Did you know...

More women than men have cardiovascular disease.

Cardiovascular disease is the  #1 killer for women.

71.8 years is the average age for women to experience their 1st heart attack.

26% of women die within one year of having a heart attack compared to 19% of men.


Love yourself by loving your own heart first.  AgriSafe’s healthy heart tips are simple

1)  Know the signs/symptoms of heart attack with the most common being chest pain or discomfort.  Women may not experience the classical elephant sitting on the chest sensation. We are more likely to experience other symptoms such as:

  • shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, indigestion, back or jaw pain, difficulty sleeping, or unusual fatigue.

    2)  Know the signs/symptoms of a stroke, including: 

    • sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body, 
    • sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding,
    • sudden trouble seeing or blurred vision in one or both eyes,
    • sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, sudden severe headache with no known cause.

      3)  Know your numbers:

      • Ideal Cardiovascular Health -  B.P. at or below 120/80, Body Mass Index<25kg/m2  Fasting blood glucose<100mg/dl, a nonsmoker, and practice regular exercise.
      • Access this website to calculate your body mass 

      4)  Know your risk for Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)- top risk factors include:

      • cigarette smoking, family history of CVD, hypertension (elevated BP), and obesity.


      Give Yourself the Gold Standard of Treatment

      To reduce your risk, take steps towards the following recommendations.

      1.  Diets high in whole grains, colorful vegetables and fruits, and lean protein sources such as mackerel, sardines, tuna, and salmon are best.  Instead of butter to cook foods, try using vegetable oils such as olive, canola, safflower, corn, soy and safflower, and sunflower oil.  Be mindful of your alcohol intake.

      2.  Watch your sodium intake!  Most of us consume 10 times the amount of salt we need to meet our sodium requirements.  2400mg of sodium is the daily recommendation. Make it a practice to taste your food before salting and keep the salt shakers near your cooking space. I have found fresh herbs work well in waking up food flavors.

      3.  Exercise at least 30 minutes five times per week with moderate intensity, i.e. brisk walking (walk fast enough you can still talk but not sing)  gardening, dancing, house cleaning (who knew chasing dust bunnies could count as exercise).   

      Check out these farm-friendly yoga moves!

      4.  Sleep - Commit to seven or more hours per night of sound restful sleep.  It is amazing the noticeable difference in my physical and mental wellbeing if I practice good sleep habits.

      5.  Smoking Cessation - The North American Quitline Consortium is a network of toll-free hotlines and websites. Find your state quitline and resources here

      6.  Stress Reduction - Practice positive self-talk.  Say to yourself "I can do this, I can handle this if I take one step at a time." Emotionally connecting and communicating with others is incredibly healing. Find your tribe, your people and love them hard.  At the beginning and at the end of each day discover three reasons to be grateful.

      7. Extra Sweet Bonus - Romantic kissing has been shown to lower stress level, lower total serum cholesterol and increase relationship satisfaction.  Share an extra kiss with your loved one, it is part of your heart healthy smart routine.

      Enjoy the month of the heart and don't forget to take care of yours!


      Linda Emanuel

      RN, Ag Producer
      AgriSafe Network, Community Health Nurse

      1 Response

      Lynda Cittell
      Lynda Cittell

      March 04, 2019

      This information about the heart is invaluable. Thank you for sharing.

      Leave a comment

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