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Prioritizing Heart Health in the Workplace

heart health
  • Published
  • 5 February 2024
  • Category
  • General

February, recognized as American Heart Month, is an ideal time to raise awareness about heart health, especially in the workplace. The heart beats tirelessly every second and is vital for our overall health and well-being. Yet, in the hustle and bustle of daily work life, we often neglect this critical aspect of our health.

Why Heart Health Matters in the Workplace
Heart health is not just a personal issue; it’s a workplace concern, as well. Poor heart health can lead to decreased productivity, increased absenteeism and higher health care costs for employers. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease and stroke are two of the leading causes of death globally, and working-age people are not immune. Stressful work environments, sedentary jobs and unhealthy workday eating habits can significantly contribute to heart-related issues.

Types of Heart Health Screenings

Blood Pressure Screening
High blood pressure, often referred to as a “silent killer,” can lead to severe heart complications if left unchecked. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises adults to get their blood pressure checked at least once every two years, if it’s within the normal range, and more frequently if it’s elevated. Regular monitoring can help in early detection and management.

Cholesterol Check
Cholesterol, a fat-like substance in the blood, can build up and clog arteries, leading to heart disease. The American Heart Association advises adults to get a cholesterol test every four to six years. This test assesses levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and triglycerides, providing a comprehensive picture of heart health risks.

Blood Sugar, BMI and Waist Circumference
There’s a strong link between diabetes, weight and cardiovascular disease. The American Diabetes Association suggests routine screening for type 2 diabetes starting at age 45, especially for people who are obese or  overweight. Take the Type 2 Risk Test to test yourself for prediabetes and diabetes. Body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference are key indicators of obesity, a known risk factor for heart disease. These measurements, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, should be part of regular health assessments.

Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) and Stress Test
An ECG, as recommended by the Mayo Clinic, is a simple test that measures the electrical activity of the heart and can detect heart rhythm abnormalities, a potential sign of underlying heart conditions.

A stress test, often used alongside an ECG, assesses how the heart functions under physical stress. The American College of Cardiology notes this as particularly useful for diagnosing coronary heart disease.

Implementing a Heart Health Program in Your Workplace
Creating a culture that prioritizes heart health is beneficial for both employees and employers. Workplaces can incorporate regular screening programs, provide educational resources about heart health, and encourage lifestyle changes like healthy eating and exercise. WorkCare’s Onsite Services & Clinics, Industrial Athlete teams offer heart health and other resources for employers to create work environments that foster prevention – before disease develops. This includes biometric screening, immunizations and health education on topics such as nutrition, stress management, sleep hygiene and physical fitness.

Contact WorkCare to learn about more resources available for employers to support their employee’s heart health and overall well-being.