February is all about the heart. Not only is Valentine’s Day right in the middle of the month, but February is also American Heart Month! It is a great time to become more conscious of your health and make a commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Heart disease is currently the leading cause of death for both men and women. People of all races are at risk for heart disease, however African American men carry a greater risk. It is important that everyone follows heart-healthy behavior in order to lower their risk as much as possible.
This year, Million Hearts is encouraging people to have a ‘heart-to-heart’:
- Find time to talk about the risks and improving heart health as a family
- Encourage healthy eating habits, like decreasing salt, sugar, and trans fat
- Promote physical activity, at least 150 minutes a week
- Show support for people who are willing to quit smoking
- Check in on health care. Remind family members to get their blood pressure and cholesterol checked regularly
Risk factors for heart disease include:
- High blood pressure
- High LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol)
- Poor diet
- Physical inactivity
- Excessive alcohol use
It is important to understand that changes can take time. Setting goals and sticking to a schedule can help to guide you towards a heart healthy lifestyle. Heart disease is preventable, as long as the proper steps are put in place. Remember, this month is all about the heart!