Message from Dr. Francisco A. Garcia, MD`

Pima County Health Departmentdownload_1

Join me in making this year a Heart Health Year, and do something good for your heart every month.  Starting March 1st, I invite you to adopt just one of the following heart healthy steps each month.

1.    Check your blood pressure regularly by making a stop to the blood pressure machine part of your visit to the grocery store or pharmacy.
2.    Add a new physical activity to your routine.
3.    Leave the salt shaker on the counter and try some salt-free seasonings. .
4.    Drink more water.
5.    Increase your physical activity.  Aim for 30 to 60 minutes per day.
6.    Visit your doctor for your yearly medical check-up.
7.    Replace soda with a non-sugary beverage.
8.    If you smoke, QUIT!   Go to www.ashline.org or call 1-800-55-66-222 to speak with a Quit Coach.
9.    Reduce your level of stress.   It can be as simple as remembering to stand up, stretch, and take a couple of deep breaths when you feel yourself getting overwhelmed.  I like to take a quick walk outside when life gets hectic.
10. Skip the fried food.

I know you’ve probably heard most of these suggestions before.   Don’t get overwhelmed or sabotage yourself by trying to start everything all at once. Instead just make one small change each month and continue that habit as you try something new the following month.  If you would like to learn more about my ideas, go to www.pima.gov/millionhearts for additional details.

Why is all of this important?  Well, making healthy changes like the ones I suggested above can help prevent heart disease.  The leading cause of death in Pima County for men was heart disease; for women, it’s the second leading cause of death.  This a major concern because heart disease is preventable, unlike many other chronic diseases.  Heart disease negatively impacts so many people here in Pima County, but it doesn’t have to!  By replacing unhealthy choices with healthy ones, you can significantly reduce your risk for heart disease.

Finally, the best step you can take for a healthier heart is to eliminate tobacco use today.  Studies from the American Heart Association show that your circulation and lung function improves within just three months of not using tobacco.  After one year of quitting tobacco use, your risks for heart disease are reduced by 50 percent.  Quitting today can also improve the health of your loved ones, including your pets, by eliminating their exposure to secondhand smoke.  The Pima County Health Department can connect you with support and resources to quit.

I hope you’ll join me in making this year a Heart Health Year.  Your heart works 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to keep you moving.  Together, we can make healthy changes to reduce the risk of heart disease. This year, show some love to your heart!