Heart-healthy choices

By Christine Adolf
February 26, 2009

Many parents of students at Cabrini are in the prime age range for developing some kind of heart condition, whether it may be high cholesterol, a heart attack or heart disease.

“It scares me a little bit, as my parents are in the range. They’re doing the best they can though, as am I,” Joe Cahill, sophomore communication major, said. “While it’s scary, I think it’s something people should be conscious of, just so that they can live healthier and longer.”

“It does not scare me that a heart attack may be lurking because a lot of times heart attacks are preventable and people are not doing what they should be in order to prevent them,” Katie Mageeney, sophomore biology pre-med major, said.

High cholesterol is one of the risk factors of disease. Students can have high cholesterol as well as many parents.

In 2009, an estimated 785,000 Americans will have a heart attack and about 470,000 will have a recurrent attack, according to the Center for Disease Control.

The month of February is dedicated to helping raise awareness about heart disease and heart conditions.

“Cabrini College has several educational programs to increase awareness about maintaining a healthy heart and healthy heart lifestyles,” Susan Fitzgerald, RN and Cabrini’s Health Services Coordinator, said.

Cabrini has posted awareness facts about Heart Awareness Month on “Toilet Talk” posted in the bathrooms on campus. Students on campus are encouraged to read “Toilet Talk” to help educate themselves about potential health problems.

“I do read ‘Toilet Talk’ and I think that it is helpful because it shows things that otherwise people our age would not read about,” Mageeney said.

“‘This Week in Wellness,’ the weekly health bulletin at Cabrini, also held information about symptoms of heart conditions and tips on how to stay fit and not raise your risk of having a heart condition,” Fitzgerald said.

The offices of Health and Wellness Education, exercise science students, the fitness center and Health Services partnered to have an event in the marketplace that included free cholesterol screenings, free blood pressure readings and possibly an appointment with a registered dietician.

There was also a healthy heart lunch menu that went along with the screenings. In 2005, over 850,000 men and women were killed because of heart disease.

In comparison to that statistic, “The number of college-aged students affected by heart disease is relatively small,” Fitzgerald said. “It is during this time that individuals begin to make lifestyle choices that will impact their heart health later on.”

The ability to choose diets low in fat and cholesterol, maintain healthy weight and blood pressure level and exercise will reduce the risk of heart disease.

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Christine Adolf

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