Did you know that February is American Heart Month - - a month dedicated to help bring awareness around heart disease and heart health. The statistics around heart disease are staggering, but the most important fact about heart disease is to remember that it can affect anyone at any age.
This was more apparent than ever when 24-year-old NFL player, Damar Hamlin, shocked the world after collapsing from cardiac arrest while on the field following a tackle. The medical staff were able to rush to his side and provide him with medical care before being rushed to the hospital, where he was stabilized and recently discharged.
According to the Center for Disease Control, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States and almost half of Americans (47%) have at least one out of the three key risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking.
Steps You Can Take
There are a number of steps that you can take to help prevent your risk of heart disease. That includes getting your annual physicals and checkup with your primary care physician who can run the necessary tests for you and provide personal recommendations for you and your health.
In addition to seeing your doctor, you can also do the following to help:
- Choosing a healthy diet and beverages – Eliminating processed, fried and fatty foods and drinks with sugar and artificial sweeteners.
- Getting regular physical activity – Even just 10 to 20 minutes per day of a brisk walk will go a long way! Just get the body moving, which will also have many other benefits (including improving bone, muscle and joint health!).
- Reducing stress – Figuring out ways to reduce your stress levels (through healthy means), which may include exercise, meditation, sleep, or even talking with a friend or counselor.
- Quitting cigarettes – Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease, so if you don't smoke, don't start. And if you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for heart disease. Your doctor can suggest ways to help you quit or cut down your intake.
- Maintaining a Healthy Weight – Through the above habits you may also be well on your way to maintaining a healthy weight, which can dramatically reduce your chances of heart disease or a heart attack.
For more information, visit www.cdc.com/heartmonth.
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