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February is American Heart Month 
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Heart disease is still the No. 1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year. To promote awareness and heart disease prevention, February has been designated as National Heart Month.
By Terry Shawn, DLA Energy Public Affairs 

With the agency’s new Wellness and Fitness Program, the Defense Logistics Agency and DLA Energy encourages healthy lifestyles and work life improvement. National health awareness programs, such as American Heart Month, can also be incorporated into personal health and wellness programs. 

February is American Heart Month and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the Office on Women's Health, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and many other groups promoted the Feb. 1 National Wear Red Day in local communities to bring attention to these American Heart Association study findings: 

·         Heart disease is still the No. 1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year.

·         Heart disease kills more women than men, at an average rate of one death per minute.

·         Heart disease kills more women than all kinds of cancer combined. 

A 2006 survey by the American Heart Association showed that 57 percent of American women know that heart disease is the leading killer of women, up from 34 percent in 2000 and 46 percent in 2003.

“Although awareness has increased among African American and Hispanic women, these groups—who are at higher risk of heart disease than white women—continue to have lower rates of awareness,” According to the survey.

 President Barack Obama issued a presidential proclamation Jan. 31 declaring February as National Heart Month and said his administration is committed to helping Americans achieve and maintain heart health.

“Heart disease is the leading cause of death among American men and women, claiming well over half a million lives annually,” Obama said. “While no one is immune to heart disease, everyone can take steps to reduce their risk. During American Heart Month, we make a commitment – for ourselves and our families – to staying healthy and keeping our hearts strong.”

Taking good care of your heart means controlling your risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, physical inactivity and being overweight, according to the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute website.

“Having just one risk factor increases your risk of developing heart disease, and your risk skyrockets with each added risk factor,” according to the website

The NIH encourages individuals to become aware of their own personal risk for heart disease. While smoking cigarettes is an obvious risk, other factors such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol generally don’t have obvious signs or symptoms.

The NHLBI suggests seeing a doctor for a thorough checkup and ask questions about the chances of developing heart disease. Some suggested questions:

·         What is my risk for heart disease?

·         What is my blood pressure? What does it mean for me, and what do I need to do about it?

·         What are my cholesterol numbers? (These include total cholesterol, LDL or "bad" cholesterol, HDL or "good" cholesterol, and triglycerides.) What do they mean for me, and what do I need to do about them?

·         What is my "body mass index" and waist measurement? Do they indicate that I need to lose weight for my health?

·         What is my blood sugar level, and does it mean I'm at risk for diabetes?

·         What other screening tests for heart disease do I need? How often should I return for checkups for my heart health?

·         What can you do to help me quit smoking?

·         How much physical activity do I need to help protect my heart?

·         What is a heart-healthy eating plan for me? Should I see a registered dietitian or qualified nutritionist to learn more about healthy eating?

·         How can I tell if I'm having a heart attack?

Kerry Webster, registered nurse and nurse coordinator with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Federal Occupation Health, runs the DLA health unit in Suite 1739 of the McNamara Headquarters Complex.

As a cardiac patient herself, Webster said she supports awareness and promotes all preventative care to keep health in check.

“We have tons of literature here for clients to take home and folks are welcomed to stop by and peruse any of the many pamphlets,” she explained.

“I would also encourage any employee who questions the readings they received on any blood pressure machine to stop by. If they have any concerns about those reading, they should come and see me without hesitation,” Webster said.

DLA’s Wellness and Fitness program offers the time, the facility and the programs to encourage the cardio workouts that can prove vital to decreasing the risk of heart disease from inactivity.

Nicholas Hendershot, HQC Fitness Center manager, believes coaching adages are appropriate when addressing heart disease prevention.

“’Control what you can control’ and congruently ‘the score will take care of itself.’ So it goes. Stop smoking. Monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol. Eat healthy. Exercise,” Hendershot said.

The fitness center recently updated all its cardio equipment and added mounted LCD TV screens, and also expanded its facilities to include a new area to accommodate a new cycling class three times a week.

“Cycle is a great way to train your heart while reducing the impact on your joints. Other cardio based class offerings include kickboxing, Zumba, and Tabata,” Hendershot explained.

A full list of classes is available online and at the Fitness Center, room 0217, Hendershot added.

The most updated schedule can be found online at https://headquarters.dla.mil/mwr/.

DLA Director Navy Vice Adm. Mark Harnitchek favors the Jacob's Ladder cardio piece. The Jacobs Ladder is a treadmill climber that utilizes low impact movement for a total body and cardiovascular workout, Hendershot explained.

 “The director routinely performs at least 45 minutes on the Jacob's ladder. If you can do 15 non-stop minutes on that machine you're doing well,” Hendershot said.