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President’s Perspective: Heart Health

President’s Perspective: Heart Health

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We started out 2016 on a somber note, with news of the passing of our friend and community leader El Franco Lee, at the age of 66. He served as Harris County Precinct One commissioner for over 30 years, and cared very much about the health and wellbeing of his community.

His passing, of an apparent heart attack, highlights the importance of heart health, and the value of the work being done each day here in the medical center surrounding cardiovascular research and patient care.

I’m proud that our own Denise Castillo-Rhodes, executive vice president and chief financial officer for the Texas Medical Center, is serving as this year’s chair of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign. More women die of congestive heart failure each year than all cancers combined. It is important that we engage in this conversation and help raise awareness for this devastating disease.

In this issue of Pulse, you will find a Spotlight interview with local American Heart Association Executive Director Yara El-Sayed. She speaks to the programs available through the AHA, and the value of community awareness and empowering individuals to be active participants in preventative care.

There are steps that we can all take to help reduce the risk of heart disease, but it all begins with knowing your numbers. How many steps do you take in a day? How much do you weigh? What is your body mass index? How are your cholesterol levels? Knowing these numbers—and talking to your doctor about them—can help you take control of your health, and make necessary lifestyle changes to improve your health for the future.

There are also a number of digital tools available to help individuals keep track of their numbers. iPhones come pre-programmed with the Health app, allowing users to track steps, body measurements, nutrition, test results and more. Similarly, Samsung users can explore the functions of the S-Health app.

Knowing your numbers is just part of the solution. We must also make healthy lifestyle choices a priority. Don’t smoke. Don’t drink too much. Enjoy everything in moderation. It can be challenging to find time in a busy day to fit in healthy, balanced meals and exercise, but both are critical to one’s overall health.

You can learn more about heart health and the Go Red for Women campaign at www.heart.org.

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