Heart disease is the leading cause of death from the national down to the local level, and the Williams County Health Department shared several tips on how to be healthier for American Heart Month.
Heart disease is a big issue in Williams County, causing 22% of all deaths in the county, making it the leading cause of death, according to the Community Health Assessment released last year.
One in 11 (9%) county adults reported surviving a heart attack in their life.
When it comes to known risk factors for cardiovascular disease, 41% of adults had high blood pressure, 37% had high blood cholesterol, 49% were obese and 14% were current smokers.
Many of those factors have been steadily increasing over the last 10 years. In 2013, 29% of residents had been told they had high blood pressure, that increased to 35% in 2016 and to 39% in 2019.
Cholesterol has seen a much smaller increase, going from 35% in 2013 to topping at 37% in 2019 and 2022.
The goal, according to the assessment, is to reduce the number of people with high blood pressure to 28% by 2030.
For American Heart Month, the Williams County Health Department released heart-health tips as part of their monthly Community Talking Points release.
“Eat a healthy diet,” the release states. “Make healthy food choices like more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy products. Eat less salt, saturated fat and added sugar.”
The release also encourages more exercise, telling people to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week in addition to muscle strengthening activities twice a week
According to the health assessment, 57% of adults engaged in some type of physical activity or exercise for at least 30 minutes three or more days per week.
The biggest barrier was self-motivation or will-power, which caused 23% of people not to exercise. In a three-way tie for second place was time, too tired and weather, which all had 22%. Plain old laziness was 19%.
People can get help to quit smoking by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW or by visiting smokefree.gov.
The release also states to take medicines as directed.
“Always ask questions if you don’t understand something,” the release states. “Never stop taking your medicine without talking to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.”
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