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February is American Heart Month

heart health

By Sarah Herndon

How healthy is your heart? Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States? February is American Heart Month and organizations like the American Heart Association and the Heart Foundation are raising awareness about ways to prevent heart disease so we can all live longer, healthier lives.

American Heart Month has been celebrated for decades. In fact, President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed the first American Heart Month back in February 1964. Since then, it’s been an annual proclamation every president has made. Back in the 1960s, cardiovascular diseases accounted for more than half of deaths in the United States. It’s important to remember than while you might hear more about heart heath in February, this is something you should be paying attention to year round; especially as health experts predict the number of cardiovascular disease deaths that occur globally to rise to more than 23 million by 2030.

 

What are cardiovascular diseases (CVD)?

  • Heart and blood vessel disease
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure
  • Arrhythmia
  • Heart valve problems

While these diseases are blamed for more deaths in the United States than any other disease, they are also some of the most preventable. By making some simple lifestyle changes, you can decrease your risk for cardiovascular diseases.

  1. Diet– Increase your fruits and vegetables intake and reduce your red meat intake.
  1. Physical Activity- According to the American Heart Association, on average, 1 in 3 adults, or 30.4% do not perform some kind of leisure time physical activity each week. Health experts recommend 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week to increase your overall heart and ling health. Physical activity can also help with weight management.
  1. Tobacco Use- According to the 2015 data, one in six males and one is seven females in the United States are current smokers. Reducing this can help improve your heart and lung health.
  1. Blood pressure- Make sure you are monitoring your blood pressure on a regular basis. Schedule routine checkups with your healthcare provider.
  1. Cholesterol- High blood cholesterol is a recipe for coronary heart disease and stroke. If you are over the age of 20, doctors recommend you get your cholesterol checked every 4 to 6 years but know this might need to be more frequent depending on the person.

We want to make sure our patients and their loved ones are living healthy lives. If you have questions about what kinds of exercises you should be doing given your individual health and fitness level, call our office to speak with one of our clinicians at 703-450-4300. We can help you get back to healthy and pain-free living!

For more information about heart health, head to http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/