American Heart Month
This February is American Heart Month! This month, many health organizations come together to shed awareness on the importance of cardiovascular health.
By making an active effort to prioritize your heart, you can avoid severe illness. Other health conditions that can increase your risk of heart disease are high blood pressure, unhealthy blood cholesterol levels, Diabetes, and Obesity.
By making an active effort to prioritize your heart, you can avoid severe illness. Other health conditions that can increase your risk of heart disease are high blood pressure, unhealthy blood cholesterol levels, Diabetes, and Obesity. According to the NHLBI, they report that developments in biomedical research have led to a 71% decrease in death rates from coronary heart disease. However, Heart disease is still the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial/ethnic groups in the U.S. Other statistics include:
- About half of all Americans (47%) have at least 1 of 3 key risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking.
- Having hypertension and high cholesterol raises the risk for heart disease, the leading cause of death, and stroke, the fifth leading cause of death.
- Only 1 in 2 people with high blood pressure are aware of it.
- High blood pressure was a primary or contributing cause of death for 516,955 people in the United States in 2019
- High cholesterol has no symptoms. A blood test can check if you have high levels.
- 7% of U.S. children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 have high total cholesterol.
- In 2015–2018, nearly 12% of adults age 20 and older had total cholesterol higher than 240 mg/dL, and about 17% had high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good”) cholesterol levels less than 40 mg/dL.
Therefore, this February, we would like to encourage everyone to get back on track in taking care of their heart. Here are some suggestions that you can start to implement into your routine:
- Aim to get at least 30 min of exercise each day. The goal is to find a way to move your body that you find enjoyable.
- Try and avoid eating out all the time and cook yourself some heart-healthy meals. Eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, beans, lean meat and fish, whole grains, and healthy fats.
- Get a good night’s rest (at least 7-8 hours of sleep). Not getting enough sleep may lead to an increase in your risk of developing other health conditions (such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, etc.)
- Learn different ways to manage your stress. You may consider starting yoga, journaling, meditation, creating a self-care routine, etc.
- Always go to your doctor’s appointments and stay consistent with any screenings (for cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar) you may need to get done.
- Avoid smoking or using tobacco products. Research shows that chemicals in tobacco cigarettes and products (including vape products) damage your heart and blood vessels. It is never too late to quit. As soon as someone quits smoking, someone’s risk of heart disease drops.
- Know what the warning signs are of a heart attack and stroke. Keep in mind that everyone can have different symptoms. Not everyone experiences numbness with a stroke or chest pain with a heart attack.
For More information related to American Heart Awareness: