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Your Business Plan: A Matter of Heart

February is the shortest month of the year, but it can have the longest impact on your life.

It's American Heart Month, a nationwide movement in support of healthier communities and healthier lives. And all across the U.S. the American Heart Association (AHA) and healthcare organizations are giving heart health and stroke prevention the main stage.

It's so important that in 2003, the AHA and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) formed an alliance focused on reducing death and disability from heart disease and stroke in the work place.

To make awareness and prevention part of your business plan, think about heart health with choices.

Suggestion #1

Surprise your Valentine this year with dark chocolate – it's known to lower blood pressure and is loaded with powerful antioxidants. And like I always say: bringing your lunch to work can save you money and can help save your life. Choose healthy alternatives to fast food and increase your intake of grilled meats, fish, green leafy vegetables and fruits.

Suggestion #2

Employers: inspect the Automated External Defibrillator in your office and have a trained practitioner perform a refresher course for the staff. The life it saves can be your own.

We all know that being the boss has its perks; but did you know it can also reduce the risk of heart attack? A recent Harvard study showed that bosses are less likely to suffer a heart attack, because being at the top offers a heightened sense of control. Conversely; employees that are being bossed around are at an increased risk. So to all you "bosses" out there- take it easy on your staff, you'll get more productivity out of them.

Know the facts that save lives:

When it comes to stroke remember: time lost is brain lost. The first 3 hours of any stroke vent are the most crucial. If you or someone you know is presenting signs or symptoms of a stroke you need get to a hospital ASAP. Getting to a hospital during this time can greatly reduce the effects of a stroke by possibly receiving "clot-busting" medications.

Staten Island University Hospital is a designated stoke center by the New York State Department of Health. The stroke team at SIUH recently received the AHA/American Stroke Association's Get With The Guidelines®–Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes SIUH's commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted guidelines.

So from now on remember: February is all about matters of the heart that matter for you and your valentine.

Theodore Strange, MD, associate chairman of the Department Medicine and vice president of Medical Operations, SIUH South.

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