Will you be my Valentine?

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, where chocolates are shared and love is in the air. Take a visit to Walmart or the Dollar store and you’ll find yourself surrounded by heart shaped gifts, balloons, and chocolate.

February is also the American Heart Month, which the United States observes to raise more awareness about the nationwide issues of heart related diseases. While February is American Heart Month, every month should be spent taking care of your heart. Even now, while you’re in school in, there are some steps you should be taking in order to prevent issues in the future.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “715,000 American have a heart attack and about 600,000 people die from heart disease in the United States each year.” Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Heart disease doesn’t single out the heart! Heart disease is a term to refer other types of heart conditions related to the arteries and veins that ultimately affect the heart.

So you may ask, “What can I do?” Nothing happens overnight but one night could be all it takes to get you started. Here are a couple tips to keep in mind, which coincidentally prevent many other diseases too:

Eat healthy. It’s the obvious yet hardest to maintain. There are many resources on the internet such as information provided on American Heart Association site and under Nutrition Health Topics on Campus Health.

Stress Management. Begin building healthy habits and ways to manage stress. Talk to family and friends, get organized, and try to identify what is causing your stress. If you are worrying about something try an activity you enjoy to take your mind off of it or take action steps to counter the issue. If you need assistance talking through your stress Counseling and Psychological Services are here for you.

Exercise regularly. Go on a walk with a friend or join a UNC intermural sport team. There are many ways to stay active! Being physically healthy is another method of stress management. You can find ways to stay active and even how much physical activity is healthy to engage in on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site or check out the special events at Campus Rec!

Don’t smoke. This is the hardest of all and yet the easiest single action to curb heart disease. Consult with a Quit Smoking Support Group or head to the Healthy Heels Shoppe in Campus Health for cessation aids.

Meningitis. Menin-wha?

Meningitis is a serious disease, and college students are at a higher risk to get certain types of meningitis.  Why?

  • Shared living arrangements: Meningitis can spread quickly when folks live in close proximity to each other because it is spread by the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions (e.g. coughing and kissing).  Residence halls and large apartment buildings fit this bill.
  • Age:  Meningitis risk increases for people age 16-21, which are the ages of high school and traditionally-aged college students.

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