Time for a Heart-to-Heart Chat—About Our Hearts

Today, Americans live a more sedentary lifestyle than ever before. Our diets have a lot of salt, not enough nutrients, too much sugar and are packed with saturated and trans fats. All of these factors have serious consequences for the health of our hearts.

Coronary artery disease affects over 16 million Americans, and the number is growing every year. At Local 94, it affects about 5% of our participants—over 600 people—with claims of over $14 million a year—and that number’s even higher when you include the costs of their prescription medications.

Your coronary arteries are responsible for sending blood and oxygen to your heart; when the space for blood to flow is too narrow due to inflammation or blockages, you might feel short of breath or an uncomfortable pressure in the center of your chest. A completely blocked coronary artery can cause a heart attack.

Fortunately, your Empire BlueCross BlueShield benefits can keep your heart in good shape. Preventive care, which is low-cost to you, is critical to catching coronary artery disease in its early stages. You should consider having a heart screening if:

  • You’re experiencing symptoms of a heart attack
  • You have a family history of heart problems
  • You have high blood pressure, cholesterol or diabetes
  • You’re a heavy smoker, or used to be
  • You’re a frequent alcohol drinker
  • You’re overweight

Of course, you’re responsible for your heart too. Empire BlueCross BlueShield has many resources for you to use—it’s just up to you to use them! Check out Empire’s Weight Center to track your BMI and set exercise goals. Empire also has healthy recipes and other tips. If you’re a smoker, join thousands of other Americans dedicated to quitting this November and participate in the Great American Smokeout.

You owe your heart some love! Use your Local 94 benefits and willpower to give your heart some TLC.

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