You’d be hard-pressed to find a more fitting month than February for American Heart Month. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, you’ve probably noticed the copious paper hearts and heart-shaped things that are filling shops and storefront windows. But American Heart Month isn’t about the sweet and gooey confections that in no way resemble an actual human heart.
American Heart Month is about promoting the importance of heart health and increasing awareness to reduce the number of heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular health complications that occur in the United States.
February was first declared American Heart Health month by Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. Even 50 years ago, we recognized the dangers of heart disease. Unfortunately, cardiovascular disease is still a big problem in the United States.
Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the United States for both men and women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is responsible for an average of over 600,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.
Heart disease accounts for more deaths than all forms of cancer combined, and is responsible for nearly one quarter of all deaths in the United States each year.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is one of the leading causes of heart disease and stroke. Figures from the CDC suggest that over 67 million Americans have high blood pressure. Those who suffer from high blood pressure are at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and complications of the heart and circulatory system.
Luckily, there are a number of things that you can do to improve your cardiovascular health.
A healthy and balanced diet is a good place to start for improving heart health. A heart healthy diet is one that focuses on fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, and limits the amount of unhealthy foods that have high amounts of bad fats and calories without much nutritional value.
Another important part of keeping your heart healthy is getting regular exercise. It’s recommended that you get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day.
While healthy diet and exercise are necessary for maintaining a healthy heart, it’s sometimes not enough. Meeting with your primary care physician can help make sure that you’re doing everything that you can to stay well and prevent cardiovascular disease. Request an appointment with your physician today!