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

Friends, family, laughter work wonders against heart disease

By Emina Gibic/reporter

Eating healthy, exercising and managing stress are ways students can show their heart some love, a NW audience learned Feb 8.

Aetna health educator Mercedes Cruz and Tarrant County public educator Sherry Williams spoke to NW students and faculty on the importance of heart health.

“Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S.,” Cruz said. “Heart disease and stroke affect one out of three people, translating to one incident every minute.”

Cruz stressed the importance of understanding what you’re eating. She showed the audience simulations of saturated fat content inside test tubes, focusing on foods such as cheeseburgers, fries and ice cream.

“We see food as what it is,” she said. “We need to start seeing it as what our body sees it as.”

Cruz also talked about her own experience with obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. Her struggle ultimately led to the loss of more than 90 pounds.

“I have a family history of heart disease and diabetes,” she said. “My dad died of a heart attack at the age of 44.”

Now as an Aetna health educator, she aspires to be a catalyst in the push toward better health.

“No one should have to go through the health problems that I have gone through,” she said.

Instead of nutrition, Wlliams focused on the impact stress has on the heart.

“Stress is a part of everyday life. However, a large majority of what people stress about is unnecessary,” she said. “We need to learn how to only worry about the big things.”

Williams said stress can be lethal to the heart because it contributes to an increase in blood pressure, overeating and a poor immune system. She said people can manage stress by doing simple things such as getting seven to eight hours of sleep everyday, showing affection, having close friends and laughing each day.

Both Cruz and Williams said people need to focus more on disease prevention. When compared to other countries, the U.S. health care system is at the bottom of the list next to Third World countries, Williams said.

NW student Latisha Kuykendall enjoyed the style of the two presenters as well as the information they gave on how to take better care of one’s heart.

“The energetic vibe of both the speakers as well as their personal testimonies allows me to leave with that in my head instead of just boring facts and numbers,” she said.

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