Hearts are a big deal this month. Leading up to Valentine’s Day we will see countless representations of hearts: heart-shaped chocolates, heart-shaped cakes, sugar hearts with phrases of endearment printed on them, we will even see a little winged baby joyfully shooting arrows at hearts. But we shouldn’t just focus on the hearts involved with Valentine’s Day. February is American Heart Health month.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the biggest killer of men and women in the United States. High blood pressure, heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, and arrhythmia are just a few of the dangers associated with CVD. You can make healthy decisions to help prevent the onset of these diseases. Regular exercise, healthy diet, not smoking, and limiting your caffeine intake are all good measures to reduce your risk of these ailments.
Sometimes healthy living isn’t enough. Genetic disposition can put you at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. Everybody is different. You may eat right, exercise every day, drink decaf, and refuse cigarettes, but you can still have heart problems. CVD can be very serious. If you are aware of heart problems, you should meet with a physician right away. Even if you don’t notice any issues, you could still be at risk. Take the time this month to set up an appointment and have your heart checked out.
Get to know your heart
National Heart Health Month is the perfect time to take steps to keeping your heart healthy, but it’s also a great time to learn more about the heart. Here are a few neat facts about hearts!
- While many people think that your heart is located on the left side of your chest, it’s actually more central. Your heart is slightly tilted to the left, giving the impression that it’s positioned farther than it is.
- Today’s pacemakers are powered by internal batteries, but the first pacemakers plugged in to walls.
- The average heart beats around 100,000 times in a day.
- Even mummies had heart problems. Heart disease has been found in 3,000 year old mummies.
- The aorta has approximately the same diameter as a garden hose.
- Capillaries are smaller than a human hair.
- A heart pumps one and a half gallons of blood every minute.
- The largest heart on the planet belongs to the blue whale, weighing in at 1,500 pounds.
- The smallest mammal heart on the planet belongs to the Etruscan Pygmy Shrew. The shrew weighs less than 3 grams, and its heart makes up 1.2% of its mass.
Heart Health Tips
- Eat a heart healthy diet.
- Do not smoke or use tobacco products.
- Keep a healthy weight.
- Be physically active every day.
- Avoid smoking or using any tobacco products. It can put their heart health at serious risk.
- Keep your blood pressure, total cholesterol and blood sugar healthy.
- For more tips, tools and recipes visit the American Heart Association’s website.
MANA Goes Red – February 3rd
On Friday, February 3, staff at all 21 MANA locations will be wearing red in honor of American Hearth Health month and collecting donations for the American Heart Association NWA branch.