Heart Health. An In Great Health eNewsletter from Avera.

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Thank you for subscribing to Heart Health, an Avera eNewsletter that provides you with useful information about cardiac care and prevention. We believe a healthy lifestyle starts with a strong heart. To learn more about our services and community events, or to find a physician, visit www.Avera.org.

To your health,

The Avera staff

High Heat Increases Risk for Heart Attack

When the temperature rises, so does the risk of heart attack. People with heart disease especially need to take some precautions to be safe in the summer heat.

Besides increased heart attack risk, prolonged exposure to extreme heat can cause medical emergencies such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion and heat cramps. All can be very serious if left untreated. Early symptoms of heat illness include thirst, excessive sweating, muscle cramps and fatigue. Later symptoms may include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea and vomiting.

Most heat illnesses are fairly easy to prevent. Stay hydrated when you're in the sun, and avoid drinking alcohol. Prolonged exercise in the heat can put you at a higher risk, so take breaks in a shady or air-conditioned place even during moderate exercise. Lightweight, light-colored clothing can help keep you cool, too.

If a person does have signs of heat illness, use water or damp cloths to cool the person down. Have the person slowly drink liquids while resting in a cool place. If you or someone else feels any heart attack symptoms (listed below), call 911 immediately. You also should call 911 immediately if someone you're with has the following symptoms of heat-related illnesses: loses consciousness from the heat, has seizures or shows signs of shock.

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Flaxseed Is Good for the Heart

Flaxseed, which comes from the flax plant, has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. It's also high in fiber and has been linked to lower cholesterol. Incorporate more flaxseed into your diet for a healthier heart and body.

Several nutrients in flaxseed reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. It contains alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid that reduces inflammation in the arteries. Soluble fiber in flaxseed lowers LDL cholesterol by blocking the absorption of cholesterol. Magnesium and potassium, both found in high amounts in flaxseed, help to lower blood pressure.

Flaxseed contains the highest amount of ALA than any other food source. Research has shown that a diet high in ALA-rich foods, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and beans may reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, both as first-time events and after the first heart attack or stroke. Evidence also has suggested that people who have a diet high in ALA-rich foods are less likely to have fatal heart attacks.

To receive the benefits of flaxseed, adults should take one tablespoon two to three times a day or two to four tablespoons once a day. If you prefer flaxseed oil, take one to two tablespoons daily. Keep in mind that flaxseed oil has omega-3 fatty acids, but it doesn't have the fiber benefits of flaxseed. To ensure freshness and high quality, grind your own whole flaxseeds. (Ground flaxseeds are available if you don't have time.) Store whole flaxseeds for up to a year in a dark container; ground flaxseed is good for up to four months, but store it in the refrigerator for maximum nutritional value and freshness.

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Heart Attack Symptoms

In Great Health online archive.

Heart Health is one in a series of Avera eNewsletters that gives readers valuable information about health and wellness at Avera facilities. It is not intended to replace personal medical advice, which should be obtained directly from a physician.