American Heart Month isn’t just for lovers. February also reminds us to take care of our hearts and consider our risk factors.
Believe it or not, heart disease can happen at any age. However, some risk factors for heart disease and stroke are preventable. American Heart Month teaches us how we can help reduce our risks while eliminating those we have control over. Do you have one of these risk factors for cardiovascular disease? Obesity, physical inactivity, high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, high cholesterol, or diabetes.
AMERICAN HEART MONTH HISTORY
In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared the first American Heart Month to tackle heart disease in the United States.
HOW TO OBSERVE #AmericanHeartMonth
Review these signs for heart disease risk:
- High blood pressure. Millions of people in the United States have high blood pressure, and millions of them are as young as 40 or 50. If you are one of them, talk to your doctor about ways to control it.
- High cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity are all conditions that can increase your risk for heart disease. If you fall into this category, work on eating healthy and getting some physical activity a few times a week.
- Smoking cigarettes. Over 35 million adults in America are smokers, and thousands of young people pick up the habit daily. If you’re a smoker, do your best to quit or cut down. It’s what’s best for your health.
So, if you want to stay on top of your health and try to avoid the risk of heart disease, there are a few things you can do. First, don’t smoke, and if you’re already a smoker, do your best to quit. Click here for options for help. The next step you can take is managing any conditions you may have, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol. Take your medication as prescribed by your doctor. Next, make heart-healthy diet decisions. Eat whole foods low in trans-fat, saturated fat, sodium, and added sugar. A good rule of thumb is to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Finally, get moving! Living a sedentary lifestyle will put you at a much greater risk for heart disease. Try to get in at least 20 minutes of physical activity 4-5 days a week, then build from there!
Visit www.millionhearts.hhs.gov to learn more about the risks and how to prevent heart disease and stroke. Use #AmericanHeartMonth to share on social media.
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