The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Nurse educates NW about heart disease

By Justin Gladney/reporter

“We don’t get a second heart.”

Registered nurse Sherree Bennett of the American Heart Association gave this warning during her Love Your Heart speech Feb. 20 on NW Campus. Even a transplanted heart, she said, is a poor substitute for the real thing.

Her speech went into detail about the different causes of heart disease, with diet the primary focus.

“Western diet is the worst diet on the face of the planet,” she said.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer in America. One dollar of every $6 spent by the government on medical care goes specifically to heart disease care.

Bennett said the key to taking care of one’s heart and preventing further damage if one already suffers from heart or cardiovascular disease is exercise and a balanced, healthy diet — “everything in moderation.” She gave many suggestions on how to improve one’s health ranging from “bake, broil, boil and grill but never fry” to taking the stairs instead of an elevator.

Another key to finding out if one is at an elevated risk of heart disease, she said, is to know family history, specifically the age and causes of death of grandparents and great-grandparents so people know when they are most at risk.

Bennett covered the different factors leading to heart disease such as atherosclerosis, blood clotting, obesity, metabolic syndrome and emphysema. She said plaque buildup can increase its severity.

She also discussed the difference between HDL and LDL cholesterol. HDLs are the “Pac-Man” of the blood system, eating the LDLs before they can collect under blood vessels and arteries and cause atherosclerosis, she said.

Explaining the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, Bennett said Type 1 is diagnosed in children as a genetic disorder whereas Type 2 is usually caused by unhealthy diet choices. Also, abdominal obesity causes as much as a fivefold increase in cardiovascular disease disposition, she said.

Smoking and alcohol usage can lead to emphysema and cholesterol gain, respectively, Bennett said.

Bennett also gave what amounts to the good, bad and ugly numbers for cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and fasting blood sugar — which is the sugar count in blood when digestion is finished and most nutrients already absorbed.

A person should get good exercise even if it’s just parking in the back of a lot and walking to the door, Bennett said.

“If you don’t use it [body movement], you will lose it,” she said.

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