February is American Heart Month. It has been celebrated every year since President Lyndon Johnson declared it for the first time in 1964, to bring awareness to the battle against heart disease, statistically, the number one killer in this country.
Here are some statistics from the American Heart Association:
- Cardiovascular disease, listed as the underlying cause of death, accounts for nearly 801,000 deaths in the US. That’s about 1 of every three deaths in the US.
- About 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day, an average of 1 death every 40 seconds.
- Cardiovascular diseases claim more lives each year than all forms of cancer and Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease combined.
- About 92.1 million American adults are living with some form of cardiovascular disease or the after-effects of stroke. Direct and indirect costs of cardiovascular diseases and stroke are estimated to total more than $316 billion; that includes both health expenditures and lost productivity.
- Heart Disease (including Coronary Heart Disease, Hypertension, and Stroke) remains to be the No. 1 cause of death in the US.
- About 790,000 people in the US have heart attacks each year. Of those, about 114,000 will die.
This battle begins with awareness to help yourself and others.
Make sure you get annual physicals to monitor your health. Know your vital signs, including, blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar.
Know what the risk factors are for heart disease and stroke so you can work to implement lifestyle changes to reduce YOUR risk.
These risk factors include:
- Physical Inactivity
- Poor Nutrition
- Being Overweight/Obese
- High Cholesterol
- High Blood Pressure
Here are some tips to reduce your risk:
- Schedule a physical if you haven’t had one in over a year
- Stop Smoking
- Decrease or eliminate sugar, salty foods, fried foods, trans fats, and processed foods
- Eat more fresh vegetables, lean meat including fish, low sugar fruits, high fiber grains, beans, nuts, and legumes. If you already have hypertension, diabetes, or obesity, we recommend you consult with a registered dietician.
- Begin a workout program that includes, mobility work, resistance training, and cardiovascular exercises
- If you have been exercising but still have some other risk factors, reevaluate your program to make sure it is effective
We would never tell you what YOUR goals should be, but in our opinion, living a “heart-healthy” lifestyle should be everyone’s primary goal. If you would like more information, please schedule a “no-sweat” orientation today to discuss your goals, assess your risk factors, and create a plan to improve the health of your heart!