Did you know that February is American Heart Health Month? Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States and every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease?
According to The American Heart Association, the good news is that heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together all year to create opportunities for people to make healthier choices. But February is set aside each year where the word is really spread about strategies for preventing heart disease and people are really encouraged to make the decision to live heart healthy lives.
The American Heart Association’s website has a toolkit that communities can access to put a plan in place. Some of their ideas include:
*Schedule a visit with your doctor to talk about heart health.
*Add exercise to your daily routine. Start off the month by walking 15 minutes, 3 times each week; by mid-month, increase your time to 30 minutes, 3 times each week.
*Increase healthy eating. Cook heart healthy meals at home at least 3 times each week and make your favorite recipes lower in sodium.
*Take steps to quit smoking, if you currently smoke.
*Take medication as prescribed.
The American Heart Association in partnership with Go Red for Women have named Friday, February 3, 2017 as National Wear Red Day. This effort is to bring attention to the fact that heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds. Fortunately, we can change that because 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action. Many women will wear red and donate to Go Red For Women, to help support educational programs to increase women’s awareness and critical research to discover scientific knowledge about cardiovascular health.
Women definitely need to schedule a “well-woman visit”, a prevention check-up to review their overall health so their doctor can measure blood pressure, check cholesterol and look for signs of heart disease, stroke and other illnesses.
Make sure to check out www.goredforwomen.org and www.heart.org to learn more. And consider choosing February as the month that you will commit to a healthy lifestyle and make small changes that can lead to a lifetime of heart health.