York joins initiative for healthier hearts

YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – Delores Ballard’s daughter was 46 years old when she died from heart complications. Ballard calls it a tough lesson learned; not for her daughter, but herself.

“One morning she had a heart attack and she died, and that even more now has me more determined to keep myself in good health and in good shape,” Ballard said.

Ballard was once one of the millions of Americans with high blood pressure and cholesterol, but after losing her daughter and mother to heart problems, she knew change was her only option.

“Staying physically active is a very, very important part of this, as well as watching what we eat,” said Dr. Matthew Howie, medical director of the York City Bureau of Health.

Ballard has been Howie’s patient for more than 12 years. He has helped her get back on track by eating right, taking the proper medication, and exercising.

Thirty-nine percent of adults in York County have high cholesterol, and 34 percent have high blood pressure.

“Heart health is important for everyone. We all have one heart and we need to continue eating properly. We need to exercise. We need to decrease any risk factors,” said Cori Strathmeyer, director of healthy living for the YMCA of York and York County.

The YMCA the York Bureau of Health have teamed up to bring the Million Hearts Initiative to the city. The goal is to prevent a million heart attacks and strokes nationwide by 2017.

“It really comes down to the four main categories we talked about: aspirin use when appropriate, blood pressure control, cholesterol management, as well as smoking cessation,” Howie said.

Heart trouble doesn’t choose an age, but you can choose your fate.

“I have lived to be 75 years old. I praise the Lord for that,” Ballard said.

In order for the Bureau of Health to track your progress, you have to take the pledge online.

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