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February – American Heart Health Month: Heart Healthy Lifestyle

 
   

February is American Heart Health Month. You can't change some things that put your heart at risk, such as getting older and having a family history of heart disease, but there are plenty of other things you can do to keep your heart strong and healthy.

Current guidelines recommend that people should:

  • Exercise at least 30 minutes a day
  • Maintain normal weight
  • Reduce salt intake
  • Increase potassium intake
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Consume a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products while reducing total and saturated fat intake. The DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet are two ways of achieving such a dietary plan.

Additionally, you should consider the following heart-healthy changes:

  • If you smoke, quit. Smoking has been closely linked to heart disease as well as a host of other diseases. Quitting is the single best thing you can do for your health. But quitting is hard. Talk to your doctor about products and support that can help you succeed.
  • Know your numbers. Your cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and body mass index numbers are key indicators to help you improve your health and reduce your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and other serious illnesses.
  • Get your blood pressure checked. High blood pressure (hypertension) makes the heart work harder than normal. It can also damage your blood vessels. You may have high blood pressure and not know it because it has no symptoms. Have your blood pressure checked on a regular basis and, if it is high, take steps to lower it.
  • Control your cholesterol. Cholesterol is a fatty substance that can clog your arteries and raise your risk of a heart attack. Saturated fat raises your cholesterol level more than anything else, so limit saturated fats and avoid trans fats. Instead, choose healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats found in olive oil, nuts, seeds, and some fish.
  • Watch your weight. In most people, extra pounds lead to higher cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Keep your weight in check by combining a healthy, high-fiber diet with increased physical activity.
  • Get physical. Regular physical activity can cut your risk for many of the main causes of illness and death, including heart disease and stroke. It also can help you lower high blood pressure and cholesterol and control your weight. Aim for at least 30 minutes of activity most days of the week, but check with your doctor before you increase your activity level.
  • Keep an eye on sleep habits. Certain sleep disorders, especially sleep apnea, are associated with hypertension. Even chronic insufficient sleep may raise blood pressure in patients with hypertension, placing them at increased risk of heart disease and death. Patients with hypertension who are habitually poor sleepers should consider long-acting blood pressure medications to help counteract the increase in blood pressure that occurs in the early morning hours. Be sure to discuss with your doctor.
  • Reduce stress. Improving mood or relieving stress may be helpful. Treating stress cannot cure medical problems, but it may be an important part of an overall lifestyle plan. Stress management programs are not a substitute for standard medical treatments.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet. Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. Choose lean meats, cut back on sugar, and watch your portion sizes.

Source: United Health Care (http://www.uhc.com/health-and-wellness/health-topics/heart-health/heart-healthy-lifestyle)

Heart Attack: Know the Signs

 

WALK YOUR WAY TO WELLNESS RESULTS

  • Thank you to all 25 teams that participated in Walk Your Way to Wellness and congratulations to our top winners. The following teams and individuals with the highest number of steps were awarded prizes:
Top Teams
Name # of Steps
Pompous Assets 5,853,395
Agony of De Feet 5,493,892
Code Blue 5,333,625

 

Top Individuals
Name # of Steps
Jennifer Maxwell 1,072,760
Otto Wilson 983,106
Jeff Volkmann 973,153

 

Total Steps Of All 25 Teams:
85,361,403

 

BENEFITS
 
  • Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) Reminders
    • March 15, 2015 – last day to incur expenses for 2014 calendar year
    • May 15, 2015 – last day for reimbursement submission
  • Retirement/TIAA-CREF
    • Employees may defer $18,000 of income into the 403(b) plan in calendar year 2015. If an employee is age 50 or older in calendar year 2015, an employee may defer an additional $6,000 for a maximum deferral of $24,000.
    • Monthly TIAA-CREF Counseling Session for 2015 - A representative from TIAA-CREF will be on campus to provide one-on-one retirement information sessions for employees in the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center, Room 331, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. While the sessions are free, an appointment is required. Please call the Meeting Request Center number at 800-732-8353 to schedule an appointment for one of the below dates.

      • February: Wednesday, Feb. 11
      • March: Thursday, March 12
    • Contact Conchy Perez at 214-626-8326 to schedule an appointment for a session conducted in Spanish. The sessions in Spanish will take place in the Pryzbyla Center, Room 331, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 18.
    • More information can be found on the HR website: humanresources.cua.edu/benefits/retirement.cfm
  • 2015 UHC medical cards have been sent to all those who enrolled in the medical plan. Please go online to access dental and vision information:
PAYROLL
 
  • Form W-2s
    • The 2014 Form W-2s are available online on Cardinal Station (for those who elected to receive their form electronically) or in paper form sent via U.S. Mail.

      Employees who elected to receive their Form W-2s electronically will not receive a paper copy of the form. The downloadable/printable form was available beginning Jan. 23. Adobe Reader is required in order to view and print the electronic version.

      If an employee did not elect to receive an electronic copy, a paper copy of the Form W-2 was mailed to the address on record in Cardinal Station.
  • Employee Self-Service – Direct Deposit Application Notice.

    The direct deposit application in Cardinal Station's employee self-service has been temporarily suspended. This step has been taken to protect the safety of staff and faculty bank account information. During the past several months, there has been an increase in the number of email scams making their way across the Internet. Some have been crafted to appear to be from The Catholic University of America and ask community members to provide their Social Security numbers, usernames, passwords, and other personal information. A few of these scams have directed individuals to what appears to be a University website, and, after individuals attempt to log in, collect their usernames and passwords. Unfortunately, some CUA users have responded to these messages in a way that compromised their account security and, in a few cases, their login information was used to redirect their payroll deposits.

    Here is the process to add or change your direct deposit information. Please print out and complete the direct deposit form and provide the documents listed below:
  1. Direct deposit form: treasurer.cua.edu/forms.cfm
  2. Voided check or bank-provided verification letter (to ensure your account number and bank’s routing number are correct)
  3. Copy of your CUA Identification card or another picture ID such as a valid driver’s license.

    Please submit to the payroll office (Room 130 in Leahy Hall) or submit via fax to 202-319-6440.