Tag Archives: heart

Let’s commit to improving South Carolinians’ heart health

By Lilian Peake, MD
Director, Health Services

Cardiovascular disease is a leading killer of South Carolinians and many of these deaths are avoidable. Communities, employers, health professionals and families can all play a role in preventing this disease.

This is particularly important in South Carolina: In 2015, there were more than 50,000 hospitalizations for heart disease, at a cost of more than $3.2 billion.

South Carolina’s heart disease death rate is above the national average and higher than our neighbors, North Carolina and Georgia. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s State Health Facts, in 2014 the heart disease death rate in the United States was 167 per 100,000 people. In South Carolina the death rate is 8 percent higher than the US rate and 14 percent higher than in North Carolina (181.1, compared to 158.7).

dr-lilian-peake-dhec

Dr. Lilian Peake

There are also disparities among groups affected. For example, the rate among African-Americans outpaces all others. The Palmetto State also has high rates of the conditions that lead to this disease, such as obesity and diabetes.

Much work has been done in an effort to turn the tide. We at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) consider our role key to helping achieve the level of improvement needed. Our vision is “Healthy people living in healthy communities.”

DHEC works with numerous community partners to improve cardiovascular health for all.

We assist in implementing CDC-recognized diabetes prevention programs and train lifestyle coaches.

DHEC also offers a heart disease and stroke prevention program called WISEWOMAN. This is offered at no cost to eligible women ages 40 to 64. Women are screened for high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity; they obtain medical follow-up and referrals for abnormal screening results as well as referrals to free or low-cost community programs, such as workout classes, diabetes education, and free sessions with a personal health coach.

DHEC partners with the SC Institute of Medicine and Public Health to facilitate the implementation of the state’s Obesity Action Plan through the SCaledown initiative.

We work with communities to encourage policies, systems and environmental changes that lead to improved access to healthy foods and active lifestyles. One example is the Farm to Institution program where we partner with the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Education. We educate the public, partner with health systems, and design wellness programs statewide.

DHEC also funds the Quitline to help South Carolinians quit smoking.

Other organizations, including the South Carolina Hospital Association, the South Carolina Chapter of the American Heart Association, A Million Hearts, the South Carolina Medical Association, the Heart2Heart Foundation and more are also doing admirable work in an effort to address this important health issue.

But there is much more work to do. We need your help. You too play an important role in improving heart health in South Carolina. And what better time to get started than this month — American Heart Month?

So what are some things you can do?

  • Commit to a healthy lifestyle — exercise daily, eat healthier and take medication as prescribed.
  • Stop Call 800-Quit-NOW for free nicotine patches, gum or lozenges to eligible South Carolinians.
  • Become a WISEWOMAN participant if eligible; call 800-227-2345 to see if you qualify.
  • Have your blood pressure checked.
  • Create physical activities such as walking or group exercise at work.

Obviously, there are many more actions we can take as employers, health care providers or families. With the right level of commitment, we can improve heart health in South Carolina. Will you help?

American Heart Month

By Tiffany A. Mack, MPH, CHES, CGW
SC PHASE Program Administrator
Division of Diabetes, Heart Disease, Obesity & School Health

February is not only the month of love in which we celebrate Valentine’s Day, it is also American Heart Month. Raising awareness about heart health is key to combating heart disease, which is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm), each year more than 600,000 Americans die of heart disease, which accounts for 1 in every 4 deaths in the country.

Why heart health?

The heart is one of the most vital organs of the human body.  This muscle pumps blood through the circulatory system and supplies nutrients and oxygen to the tissues of the body.  Damage to the heart through poor lifestyle habits such as smoking, physical inactivity and diets rich in sodium and saturated fats can cause the heart to not function properly and result in heart disease.

Adults who suffer from chronic conditions have a much higher risk of developing heart disease.  Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease than adults without diabetes; people with uncontrolled high blood pressure are three times more likely to die of heart disease; and people with high blood cholesterol have about twice the risk of developing heart disease than people with lower levels (source: DHEC Chronic Disease Epidemiology State of the Heart Fact Sheet, www.scdhec.gov/Library/ML-002149.pdf).

It is important to know that there are many ways heart disease can be prevented and treated to maintain a normal lifestyle, and prevent premature death and disability.

What is DHEC doing?

DHEC’s Division of Diabetes, Heart Disease, Obesity and School Health received funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to focus on preventing obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke in 15 of the 46 counties in South Carolina.  The division is partnering with medical practices to adopt and implement policies and protocols for the improvement of patient health outcomes related to high blood pressure.

What can you do?

One of the best ways to celebrate American Heart Month is to get involved.  Know your numbers. Get routine screenings by your primary care physician to include checking blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol levels.

  • Eat smart. Reduce your sodium intake, and adding more fruits and veggies to your diet.
  • Move more. Add just 10 minutes of moderate activity twice a day.
  • At work you can go for a walk, take the stairs and/or bring a healthy snack to share with your colleagues.
  • Encourage your family and friends to follow your lead by practicing healthier habits for life.

There are many partner organizations that are participating in American Heart Month by conducting awareness and outreach events.  The Heart2Heart Foundation  has been hosting a Statewide Screening Day initiative.  This event was created through a collaboration with the Governor’s Office and SC DHEC.  Please visit StatewideScreeningDay.com and share this with your friends so they can take advantage of these free screenings!

For the remaining days of American Heart Month — and beyond — commit to learning about what you can do to promote heart health and raise awareness about heart disease and heart disease prevention.

More Information:

If you would like more information regarding heart disease and heart healthy tips, visit the DHEC website (www.scdhec.gov/Health/DiseasesandConditions/HeartDiseaseStroke/HeartDisease/) the CDC website (cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm) or the American Heart Association website (heart.org/HEARTORG/).

Go Red Day: For Women and Heart Health!

The word is finally getting out about the devastating statistics of heart disease in women. As the No. 1 killer of women nationally, heart disease claims the lives of nearly 500,000 women annually in the United States. In 2003, the American Heart Association introduced a new initiative known as “National Wear Red Day” to inform women of the dangers of ignoring their heart health and to teach them how to improve their heart and overall health. “Go Red Day” is held on the first Friday in February and encourages women and men to dress in red clothing to show their support for heart disease awareness.

In the 15 years since the inaugural “National Wear Red Day,” there have been significant accomplishments achieved to reduce the number of women dying from heart disease, including:

  • Nearly 90% of women have made at least one healthy behavior change.
  • More than one-third of women have lost weight.
  • More than 50% of women have increased their exercise.
  • 6 out of 10 women have changed their diets.
  • More than 40% of women have checked their cholesterol levels.
  • One-third of women has talked with their doctors about developing heart health plans.
  • Today, nearly 300 fewer women die from heart disease and stroke each day.
  • Death in women from heart disease has decreased by more than 30 percent over the past 10 years.

Click here to read more about “Go Red Day” and how you can protect yourself from heart disease.

Love Your Mother’s Heart

On this special day set aside to celebrate our mothers and shower them with love, let’s also take time to focus on their hearts.

Did you know that more than 22,000 S.C. women were hospitalized for heart disease in 2014? According to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, heart disease is the leading cause of death for African-American women and the second leading cause of death for white women in our state. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death for all women in the Palmetto State.

May is also Stroke Awareness Month and this is Women’s Health Week, both perfect opportunities to remind our mothers, grandmothers, daughters and those other important ladies in our lives of the benefits of healthy habits to prevent these potentially deadly diseases.

 

Quit smoking

Every day, nearly eight women die from smoking in South Carolina, according to DHEC’s Smoking-Attributable Mortality, Morbidity, and Economic Cost analysis.  Women who smoke are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack as women who don’t smoke.  In fact, an average of two women die every day in our state from heart disease linked to smoking.

quit tobacco momDHEC manages the S.C. Tobacco Quitline, a free behavioral counseling service for all South Carolinians who want to quit for keeps.  Individuals can take advantage of one-on-one support from a trained Quit Coach via phone or web, a personalized treatment plan, a Quit Kit, and features such as text message support and helpful mobile apps.  Tailored programs are available for pregnant callers.

The Quitline can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). For Spanish, call 1-855-DEJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569).

Do you want to help a loved one quit smoking but are not sure how to start the conversation? Check out these tips for helping others quit smoking.

Get moving

Regular physical activity could reduce the risk of high blood pressure—a contributing factor to heart disease and stroke—by nearly 20 percent. In South Carolina, 53 percent of women do not get the recommended amount of physical activity—30 minutes a day for five days a week or more than 150 minutes a week. A simple daily brisk walk can help you get to a healthy weight, improve your mood and prevent high blood pressure.

Find more physical activity tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here.

Eat healthy

Remember mom’s mealtime lectures about eating all your vegetables? Her advice is right, health experts agree.

Fruits and vegetables provide important vitamins, minerals and fiber that can reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

Check out our serving sizes and shopping tips page for recipe ideas and tips on healthy eating.

Know the signs

The most common sign of a heart attack in both women and men is chest pain, but women often experience other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, nausea and back and jaw pain. Read more about heart attack symptoms in women at the American Heart Association page.

Stroke symptoms include sudden:

  • Numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg;
  • Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding;
  • Trouble seeing or experiencing blurred vision;
  • Trouble walking, loss of balance or coordination, dizziness; or
  • Severe headache with no known cause.

If you or a loved one experience any of these symptoms, don’t wait—call 9-1-1. Read more about how to spot a stroke and what quick steps to take here.

Mother’s Day is truly a time to celebrate family so take this opportunity to take care of yourself if you are a mother or share some healthy encouragement with the women in your life.

Richland County Chosen as One of Two Counties Nationwide for Million Hearts Initiative

By Jamie Shuster

Email header

Richland County was chosen by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Foundation to serve as one of two pilot counties for the Million Hearts “Healthy is Strong” initiative. Million Hearts is a national initiative from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.  The initiative targets African-American men ages 40-65 in Richland County, as well as Clayton County, Georgia.  We’re excited to have been selected as one of two counties nationwide for this initiative.

African-Americans face higher risks than Caucasians of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease. African-Americans also suffer more stroke deaths, which is the third leading cause of death in South Carolina, resulting in 729 deaths in 2013. These higher illness rates result in ten years of lost life for African-Americans in our state.

Heart attacks and stroke are largely avoidable by managing medical conditions and making lifestyle changes.  This initiative reinforces strong men to put their health first. Simple changes such as taking medication as prescribed, healthy eating, getting regular exercise, and quitting smoking can make a big difference in improving health. Talk to a health care professional about the “ABCS” of heart health:

  • Aspirin use when appropriate
  • Blood pressure control
  • Cholesterol management
  • Smoking cessation

The focus of Million Hearts aligns with the dedicated work and commitment of DHEC’s Bureau of Community Health and Chronic Disease Prevention.

For more information about this initiative, please visit the Million Hearts website.