10,000 Healthy Hearts Challenge promotes heart health education
In the U.S., 3 out of 4 adults are living with a heart age older than their actual age. To combat these prematurely aging hearts, Novant Health is launching the 10,000 Healthy Hearts Challenge aimed at educating 10,000 people about their heart health by 2018.
Heart age, the calculated age of an individual’s cardiovascular system, is based on a number of risk factors. Diet and lifestyle changes can dramatically lower the heart’s age and reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. In fact, more than 3 in 4 heart attacks and strokes could be avoided or delayed if people manage or control their cardiovascular risk factors like blood pressure, diet, exercise and smoking habits.2
“Novant Health is committed to raising awareness of this important issue and promoting the message that taking care of your heart and living a long, healthy life go hand in hand,” said Dr. Tom Zweng, Novant Health chief medical officer. “Our campaign for more healthy hearts is part of our larger mission to improve the health of our communities, one person at a time.”
Novant Health is encouraging the community to take the 10,000 Healthy Hearts Challenge by completing the online heart disease risk assessment that analyzes cardiovascular risk factors, such as blood pressure, cigarette smoking, diabetes and body mass index, and then tagging five friends on social media using #NHHealthyHearts to spread the word. Once the challenge is accepted, individuals will continue to receive helpful wellness tips, recipe ideas and stress management reminders to manage their heart health.
“Each day, we help patients determine and manage health risk factors to keep their hearts healthy,” said Dr. C. Raymond Workman, Novant Health Heart & Vascular Institute physician lead for Winston-Salem. “Should a heart event occur, the Novant Health Heart & Vascular Institute is equipped with all the latest diagnostic equipment, tests, treatments and rehabilitation programs to get our patients back on their feet.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a 47-year-old woman who smokes and has a systolic blood pressure (the top number) of 142 mm Hg may have a heart age of 67. However, studies have shown that lifestyle changes can positively impact heart age. Men who quit smoking and reduce systolic blood pressure to 120 mm Hg may be able to lower predicted heart age by 19 years, and women may be able to lower theirs by 23 years.2
“Knowing the factors that increase your heart age reinforces the importance of healthier living and caring for your heart,” said Dr. Gary Niess, Novant Health Heart & Vascular Institute physician lead for Charlotte. “The most effective plan of action is to regularly discuss heart health with your physician, and monitor critical health indicators like blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels.”
Heart and vascular health is a top priority and Novant Health is here to help. From working with patients to determine heart disease risk factors to managing and treating them, we have the heart experts and primary care providers you can rely on to keep your heart healthy for life.
Novant Health recommends three key steps to understand and practice good heart health, including:
1. Understand why heart health matters and that cardiovascular disease, in many instances, can be prevented.
2. Be aware of the conditions and risk factors that could affect your heart. Beyond age and family history, some risk factors may be managed such as high blood pressure, diabetes, inactive lifestyle, unhealthy diet, obesity, stress, smoking, alcohol consumption, etc.
3. Take action to protect your heart. In addition to lowering blood pressure and managing cholesterol, simple steps may improve heart health: get some rest, don’t stress, stop smoking and make time for exercise – because even just 30 minutes a day, five days a week can make a difference. The American Heart Association offers additional options for physical activity.
At Novant Health, helping our communities stay healthy and informed is a mission we strive for every day.
About Novant Health
Novant Health is an integrated network of physician clinics, outpatient facilities and hospitals that delivers a seamless and convenient healthcare experience to communities in Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia. Named in 2016 by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of the nation’s 150 best places to work in healthcare, Novant Health network consists of more than 1,500 physicians and over 25,000 employees that provide care at over 470 locations, including 14 medical centers and hundreds of outpatient facilities and physician clinics. In 2016, the health system provided more than $725.5 million in community benefit, including charity care and services.
For more information, please visit our website at NovantHealth.org. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.