Heart Health Matters
The month of February isn’t just for celebrating Valentine’s Day with your special someone or raiding the discounted candy aisle the day after. It’s also Heart Month! So, let’s brush up on our heart health knowledge.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States with more than 600,000 deaths occurring each year. That translates into one in every four deaths!
Who’s at risk?
The simple answer is: everyone, including children. Those at higher risk include individuals with:
- High blood pressure – Affects one in every three American adults. High blood pressure is often referred to as a “silent killer” because there are usually no warning signs or symptoms. You can quickly check your blood pressure at home or by visiting a doctor’s office or pharmacy.
- High cholesterol – Almost doubles the risk of heart disease. High cholesterol has no symptoms, but a simple blood test can check your levels. Adults over the age of 20 with no history of cardiovascular disease should have their cholesterol levels checked every four to six years.
Other risk factors include having diabetes and being overweight or obese. Genetics may also play a role. Conditions like high blood pressure can be inherited, so it’s important to discuss your complete family history with your doctor to determine if you have an increased risk.
Lifestyle choices can also increase your risk, such as smoking, eating an unhealthy diet and not exercising enough.
Simple Ways to Love your Heart
One person dies every minute in the U.S. due to a heart disease-related event. Small steps to improve your heart health can make a huge impact. Start by discussing your risks and family history with your doctor. Next, make lifestyle changes to decrease your risk. It’s really that simple!
- Eat a healthy diet – Include fresh fruits and vegetables, and set goals to eat less processed foods.
- Maintain a healthy weight – Not everyone fits the same mold, so be sure to use your Body Mass Index (BMI) as a gauge rather than societal standards.
- Exercise regularly – The Surgeon General recommends that adults exercise 2 hours and 30 minutes each week.
- Avoid smoking and other tobacco products – Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease.
- Limit alcohol consumption – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that men have no more than 2 drinks per day and women only have one.
Hearth Health Matters Infographic
Below is an infographic you can share with your friends, family and co-workers. We encourage you to share the message about heart health across your social media accounts! You can also print it out and hang it in the break room or bulletin board.
Click here to view the PDF version.
Click here to view the JPG version.