February is National Heart Awareness Month

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IDG ECHOS: Effectively Communicating Hazards of Occupational Safety. Designed to deliver safety tips and communicate updates.

In observance of National Heart Awareness Month, IDG is expanding on the blog we published last year about Cardiovascular Disease: Are You at Risk for Heart Disease? 

In that issue we included, among other things, "The 10 Step Plan for Prevention". This article will provide you with more details on those steps, hopefully increasing awareness on the importance of healthy living.


Plan for Prevention:

  1. Work with your health care team. Get a checkup at least once each year, even if you feel healthy. A doctor, nurse, or other health care professional can check for conditions that put you at risk for CVD, such as high blood pressure and diabetes—conditions that can go unnoticed for too long.
  2. Monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure often has no symptoms, so be sure to have it checked on a regular basis. You can check your blood pressure at home, at a pharmacy, or at a doctor's office. Find more information at CDC's High Blood Pressure Web site.
  3. Get your cholesterol checked. Your health care team should test your cholesterol levels at least once every 5 years. Talk with your health care professional about this simple blood test. You can find out more from CDC's High Cholesterol Web site.
  4. Eat a healthy diet. Choosing healthful meal and snack options can help you avoid CVD and its complications. Limiting sodium in your diet can lower your blood pressure. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables—adults should have at least five servings each day. Eating foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol and high in fiber.
  5. Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for CVD. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, health care professionals often calculate a number called body mass index (BMI). Doctors sometimes also use waist and hip measurements to measure a person's body fat.
  6. Exercise regularly. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The Surgeon General recommends that adults should engage in moderate-intensity activity for at least 150 minutes per week. Remember to incorporate exercise into your day in different ways: take the stairs instead of the elevator, or rake the yard instead of using the leaf blower. Exercising with friends and family can be a great way to stay healthy and have fun.
  7. Don't smoke. Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for CVD. If you don't smoke, don't start. If you do smoke, quit as soon as possible. Your health care team can suggest ways to help you quit.
  8. Limit alcohol use. Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can increase your blood pressure. Men should stick to no more than two drinks per day, and women to no more than one.
  9. Manage your diabetes. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels closely, and talk with your health care team about treatment options.
  10. Take your medicine. Don't forget to take your prescribed medication as per your doctor's recommendation.

Recommended Workplace First-Aid Supplies 

It is advisable for the employer to give a specific person the responsibility for choosing the types and amounts of first-aid supplies and for maintaining these supplies. The supplies must be adequate, should reflect the kinds of injuries that occur, and must be stored in an area where they are readily available for emergency access. Employers who have unique or changing first-aid needs should consider upgrading their first-aid kits. The employer can use the OSHA 300 log, OSHA 301 reports or other records to identify the first-aid supply needs of their worksite.

Automated External Defibrillators

An automated external defibrillator (AED) should be considered when selecting first-aid supplies and equipment. With recent advances in technology, AEDs are now widely available, safe, effective, portable, and easy to use. They provide the critical and necessary treatment for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) caused by ventricular fibrillation, the uncoordinated beating of the heart leading to collapse and death. Using AEDs as soon as possible after sudden cardiac arrest, within 3-4 minutes, can lead to a 60% survival rate. CPR is of value because it supports the circulation and ventilation of the victim until an electric shock delivered by an AED can restore the fibrillating heart to normal.



All worksites are potential candidates for AED programs because of the possibility of SCA and the need for timely defibrillation. If you would like more information on adding AEDs to your facility, please contact Gloria Greene at 704.398.5750.

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