February is American Heart Month and it’s a time when the American Heart Association raises awareness of heart disease. On Tuesday, the Department of Campus Recreation at Youngstown State Univerisity sponsored an event called “Healthy Heart Day” to help spread the word.
The event provided delicious heart-healthy recipes and information donated by the AHA on how to lower blood pressure. Students were able to stop by the lobby of the Andrews Student Recreation & Wellness Center to get their blood pressure taken.
“It’s Healthy Heart Day, so we have our table set up here with all kinds of information, and we’re taking people’s blood pressure just to promote healthy heart month,” said Bobby Cameron, YSU student and intern for the Wellness Resource Center.
There are many risk factors that play into developing heart disease. Some factors, like race, sex and heredity, cannot be controlled. However, there are other factors — such as stress, smoking, high cholesterol and high blood pressure — that people can keep under control.
A common problem with blood pressure is that just because a person knows his or her pressure numbers doesn’t mean he or she knows what those numbers mean. AHA provided information on interpreting those numbers at the event.
Frankie Donnadio, YSU senior, stopped in to get his blood pressure taken and learned a thing or two about his pressure numbers.
“I never knew what the numbers meant when you got your blood pressure taken,” Donnadio said. “I was told my blood pressure was 128/184, and I was told that was pretty good after walking around campus all day.”
Cameron said in terms of the spreading heart disease awareness, it was extremely important to get information out to people because of the trends in our country.
“People are getting more obese and heart disease is a very relevant topic in society today,” Cameron said.
YSU’s nutritionist, Chrystyna S. Zellers, was also at the event to talk about the importance of nutrition and exercise when it comes to heart disease.
“You need a good nutritional diet, as well as exercise, to prevent heart disease,” Zellers said. “It’s really important to get it out to 20- and 30-years-old, especially because heart disease is starting so much earlier because of obesity.”
Weight loss and exercise are the number one things you can do to prevent heart disease. It’s also very important to monitor your intake of carbohydrates, fats, sugar and sodium. As well as getting enough water everyday.
A combination of exercise and a healthy weight is the number one prevention against heart disease. This healthy lifestyle includes monitoring how many carbohydrates, fats, sugars, sodium and water an individual takes in on a daily basis.
“Knowledge is power when it comes to prevention,” said Gina Carzoli, a registered nurse at the Mahoning County Career & Technical Center. “The more you are aware of what you are doing and how it can harm your body, the better decisions you will make in preventing diseases and decreasing complications.”
The AHA website, heart.org, offers several tools and articles to help control and even omit some changeable risk factors for those who may already have a history of heart disease in their family tree.
Cameron said that though the event is only a small gesture in the national — and international — fight against heart disease, the effort isn’t in vain.
“If someone comes in here and their blood pressure is extremely high, hopefully then they think that maybe they should go see a doctor and get some actual readings done in case there is a problem,” Cameron said. “It’s a start and hopefully it helps one person, and that’s enough for us.”