February was heart health month and the Central Jersey Alumnae Delta’s Physical and Mental Health Committee hosted an informative presentation titled Heart Health and You! Held on Thursday, February 6th at Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick, attendees first heard from Pamela Coleman and Dr. Avonia Richardson-Miller. Coleman was born with a congenital heart defect and is a Survivor Ambassador for the American Heart Association. Richardson-Miller, a member of the sorority, is a heart survivor who underwent surgery in 2017. Both spoke about their personal experiences and shared stories of strength and survival. 

Thereafter, the featured speaker was Registered Nurse Lisa DiGiovanni, Ed.D. Her presentation, With a Healthy Heart…the Beat Goes On, featured the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7 to improve heart health:

  1. Get active. Walk 30 minutes, five times each week. Set a goal and start gradually.
  2. Control cholesterol. The low density lipoprotein (LDL) is the “bad cholesterol” that should be lowered. To do so, avoid trans fat and saturated fat. 
  3. Eat better. Maintain a balanced diet and consider eating more whole foods.
  4. Manage blood pressure. The goal is to have a normal blood pressure of 120/80 (heart at work/heart at rest).
  5. Lose weight. Losing 5-10 lbs. can drastically improve one’s health and BMI should be between 18-25.
  6. Reduce blood sugar. A normal level is 80-120 mg.
  7. Stop smoking. Over time, cessation of smoking reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke, and lung cancer

Free health screenings were offered at this event throughout the evening. Dr. Giovanni did blood pressure screenings, tested blood sugar levels, and encouraged attendees to follow up with their physicians as necessary. It was a thought-provoking evening and one that potentially saved a life.