Greater Scranton YMCA Provides Tips and Programs During Heart Month February is American Heart Month, and with recently published research indicating blood pressure control has worsened in both men and women since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Greater Scranton YMCA urges community members to make their health a priority by getting a blood pressure screening. Blood pressure guidelines from American Heart Association indicate that nearly half of all Americans (46 percent) have high blood pressure. High blood pressure is often referred to as “The Silent Killer” because there are typically no warning signs or symptoms. While high blood pressure and heart disease are serious conditions, the good news is a healthy heart is an achievable goal through lifestyle changes such as lowering sodium intake, eating healthier, and getting more physical activity. Getting help can be as easy as contacting the Y and taking part in the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program. The Greater Scranton YMCA is continuing its increased availability of the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program – which is part of the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program. The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program helps adults at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles to help reduce their chances of developing the disease. Type 2 diabetes is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and people with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or suffer a stroke as those who do not have it. Here in the Greater Scranton region, we have offered the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program for 12 years. The program provides a supportive environment where participants work together in a small group to learn about eating healthier, increasing their physical activity and making other behavior changes with the goal of reducing body weight by 7 percent in order to reduce their risk for developing diabetes. A trained Lifestyle Coach leads the program over a 12-month period. Increased physical activity and moderate weight loss not only reduce diabetes risk, but also have an impact on lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. The Greater Scranton YMCA has seen many participants who had previously been living a sedentary lifestyle come through the program and not only improve their quality of life, but go on to attend multiple group exercises classes a week, as well as regularly visit our wellness center and weight room. The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program introducespeople to the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and is essential in creating healthier habits bothinside and outside the gym. In addition to monitoring your blood pressure, reducing sodium intake is a great way tokeep your heart healthy. Per the American Heart Association (AHA), too much sodium inyour system puts an extra burden on your heart and blood vessels. In some people, thismay lead to or raise high blood pressure. Everyone, including kids, should reduce theirsodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day (about 1 teaspoon of salt).Having less sodium in your diet may help you lower or avoid high blood pressure. “While there are many ways to keep your heart healthy, making a conscious effort to tackleyour blood pressure and decrease sodium intake are two quick, effective ways to preventheart disease,” said Trish Fisher, President & CEO, Greater Scranton YMCA. “No matter whatyour heart health goal is this year, the Y has a variety of resources to help you get startedand achieve them.” The Greater Scranton YMCA offers a community of diverse individuals who can support allpeople in meeting their health and well-being goals. Learn more by visitingwww.greaterscrantonymca.org or stopping into the facility, located at 706 N. Blakely Street,Dunmore, PA 18512.