February is American Heart Month: Learn About Heart Health
February is American Heart Month. Learn about your risk factors for heart disease and preventative measures you can take to improve your heart health.
What is Heart Health?
Heart health refers to choices we make in our everyday lives that reduce our chances of developing heart disease. Focusing on your heart health and taking preventative measures can lower your risk of developing heart disease and also improve your overall health and wellbeing.
What is Heart Disease?
- According to the CDC, “heart disease refers to several types of heart conditions. The most common types are coronary artery disease (CAD) which decreases blood flow to the heart and can cause a heart attack.
- According to The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Pressure Institute, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women.
- About 659,000 people in the United States die from heart disease each year; that’s one in every four deaths. Nearly one in two U.S. adults have hypertension, yet only one in four have it under control.
What Are Risk Factors for Heart Disease?
According to the CDC, about half of the people in the United States (47 percent) have at least one of the following risk factors. Unfortunately, some risk factors cannot be changed (age, sex, and family history). Other risk factors can be modified. For example, being more physically active and eating for your heart are great ways to focus on your heart health and prevent heart disease.
- High Blood Pressure
- High Blood Cholesterol
- Overweight and Obesity
- Unhealthy Diet
- Physical Inactivity
- Excessive Alcohol Use
- Family History of Heart Disease
- Age (55 or older for women and 45 or older for men)
Regularly Monitor Your Blood Pressure
Regularly monitor your blood pressure by your primary care provider. You can also get your blood pressure checked at a pharmacy, doctor’s office, and at home with a home monitoring device. While measuring your blood pressure, remember the following:
- Do not talk while getting your blood pressure checked
- Ensure that your arm is resting at chest height
- Ensure the cuff is against bare skin
- Make sure your back is supported
- Sit with your feet flat on the floor
Taking Care of Your Heart Can Be as Simple as ABCS
Review the ABCS with your primary care provider:
- Aspirine When Appropriate
- Blood Pressure Control
- Cholesterol Management
- Smoking Cessation