Time and money – it seems as if there is never enough of either one. As more than one friend has expressed, when I have the time, I don’t have the money. Fortunately, there are many tools available to help you manage your heart health and the price is right – free! Whether you’re an online Internet-savvy-wired-to-the-Web kind of person, or still prefer the touch and feel of good old-fashioned print media, there are free tools available ranging from those to help you manage risk factors, track your progress, and identify areas where you need to improve your health, just to name a few. For the proactive health warriors among us, you’ll also find many free resources that help you educate others about risk factors for heart disease and stroke, along with life-saving actions that they can take.
If you’re interested in improving your personal heart health, or helping spreading the word about heart health to others, then check out the list below. The tools in this list are provided to you courtesy of the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Stroke Association (ASA). By no means is it meant to be a complete list of the many tools and resources available to you, but the tools mentioned are a great place to get started.
• My Life Check-Live Better With Life’s Simple 7: Sponsored by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, My Life Check is a simple, easy-to-understand assessment of seven areas – Life’s Simple 7 - that are essential to good heart health. The Simple 7 are: physical activity, eating habits, weight, smoking, cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure. The assessment takes 5-10 minutes and the results are instant. Check My Life Check out at: http://mylifecheck.heart.org/
• Personal Risk Assessment: The survey consists of simple questions regarding your personal lifestyle habits such as smoking and physical activity, along with a survey of family history. It takes about two minutes to complete and the risk assessment is instantaneous. For more information visit: http://powertoendstroke.org/tools-risk.html
• Family Reunion Toolkit: What better place to start educating others than with your family. The Family Reunion Toolkit is a free downloadable packet with ideas ranging from revamping those treasured family recipes into heart healthy delights, to heart and stroke facts, handouts, and suggestions for activities. It even comes complete with great tips for planning a family reunion. The Family Reunion Toolkit is downloadable as a PDF file from http://powertoendstroke.org/pdf/PTES_Family_Reunion_Toolkit.pdf. It’s a great resource and the information just may save the life of someone you love.
• Power Sunday Kit: Similar to the Family Reunion Toolkit, the Power Sunday Kit is geared specifically to spreading the word about stroke in a religious setting. This kit comes complete with sample letters to clergy, snippets for Sunday bulletins, posters, risk factor flyers, and much more. Download the materials at: http://powertoendstroke.org/tools-power-sunday.html
Links to these tools as well as many others have been pulled together in a one-stop-heart-shopping experience on the 31 Days of Power website located at: http://powertoendstroke.org/get-31days.html. May is High Blood Pressure Awareness Month and American Stroke Month. High blood pressure is a risk factor for both heart disease and stroke. Please check out their many resources and events planned.
Mary Kyle is a freelance writer, editor, and project manager. She has a Master’s degree in Legal Studies and is a certified Project Management Professional. She has two children’s books to her credit and has authored or co-authored hundreds of articles. A songwriter and musician, she is a member of several bands and performs regularly.