September 2018 - Cholesterol Awareness
A Message from Your Hometown Health Manager
Only one month left to earn your Visa gift card! Our program year will close on September 30, and the new 2018-2019 program year will begin Monday, October 1. You will then become eligible to earn fresh Visa gift card rewards!

Haven’t earned all your rewards for this current program year? It’s not too late! You may check to see how close you are to earning your incentive by logging into your Hometown Health Portal and clicking on “Rewards.” A health screening is required in order to earn your reward.

If you missed your onsite health screening, but have visited your doctor for an annual wellness visit/blood work, you may have your doctor submit this completed physician qualification form on your behalf (instructions found on form).

Be sure to complete your screening, online health assessment, and wellness activities prior to September 30. If you have questions or need assistance, contact

All the Best,

Gwen Mahabir
A Close-Up on Cholesterol: Know the Basics
Do you know the ins and outs of cholesterol? How about the highs and lows? Read on for information that can help you learn more about this threat to heart health.  

What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance your body needs — and your liver makes most of what you need. Some people inherit a tendency to produce too much.

You might also raise your levels of unhealthy types when you eat certain foods — such as fatty cuts of meat, full-fat dairy and other high-fat animal products.

Why it matters
If your cholesterol levels aren’t what they should be, it may be a serious health risk. They can contribute to plaque buildup in your arteries. This can cause an artery to narrow or become clogged — which could trigger a heart attack or stroke.

Here are two types of cholesterol that play a role in that risk:

  • The bad: low-density lipoprotein, or LDL. Too much LDL is a plaque builder — and a primary culprit in clogged and damaged arteries.

  • The good: high-density lipoprotein, or HDL. This type works a bit like a trash collector. As it travels through your bloodstream, it gathers up other bits of cholesterol — and takes them to your liver for disposal.

HDL cholesterol: How to boost your 'good' cholesterol
Your cholesterol levels are an important measure of heart health. For HDL cholesterol, or "good" cholesterol, higher levels are better.

What are optimal levels of HDL?
Cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter (dL) of blood or millimoles (mmol) per liter (L). When it comes to HDL cholesterol, higher numbers are better.
People who have naturally higher levels of HDL cholesterol are at lower risk of heart attacks and stroke. However, it's less clear whether that same benefit holds true for people who increase their HDL levels with medications.
Interventions known to increase HDL have shown to lower the risk of heart attacks, like exercise, quitting smoking or improving the diet. However, medications that specifically increase HDL have failed to reduce the rate of heart attacks.

Exercise Intensity: How to Measure it
Get the most from your workouts by knowing how to gauge your exercise intensity.

When you exercise, are you working hard or hardly working? Exercising at the correct intensity can help you get the most out of your physical activity — making sure you're not pushing too hard or too little. Here's a look at what exercise intensity means, and how to maximize your workout.

Choosing your exercise intensity
How hard should you be exercising? The Department of Health and Human Services recommends these exercise guidelines for most healthy adults:

  • Aerobic activity. Get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity — such as brisk walking, swimming or mowing the lawn — or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity — such as running or aerobic dancing. You can also do a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. It's best to do this over the course of a week.

  • Strength training. Strength train at least twice a week. Consider free weights, weight machines or activities that use your own body weight — such as rock climbing or heavy gardening. The amount of time for each session is up to you.

Your exercise intensity must generally be at a moderate or vigorous level for maximum benefit. For weight loss, the more intense or longer your activity, the more calories you burn.

Women and Heart Disease: What You Need to Know
Many women live in fear of breast cancer. But they often don’t realize that heart disease poses a much greater threat. In fact, heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death among American women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The chance of developing heart disease increases with age — and it goes up after menopause.* But women of all ages should take their heart health seriously. It’s never too early to take steps to help protect your heart.

Take charge of your heart health
You can’t change some things that put your heart at risk, such as getting older and having a family history of heart disease. Certain conditions, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, may also raise your risk.

But there are plenty of other things you can do to help keep your heart strong and healthy:

  • If you smoke, quit. Smoking has been closely linked to heart disease as well as a host of other diseases. Quitting is one of the best things you can do for your health. Talk with your doctor about products and support that may help you succeed.

  • Get your blood pressure checked. High blood pressure makes the heart work harder than normal. It can also damage blood vessels. Have yours checked regularly — and if your numbers are high, talk with your doctor about how to get them down. 

  • Control your cholesterol. Cholesterol is a fatty substance that can clog arteries and raise the risk of a heart attack. Ask your doctor how often to be tested. 

Florida League of Cities | | 850.222.9684