Month-long Focus on Heart Health Aims to Save Lives
February is a month of celebrating Valentine’s Day and candy hearts. It’s also the perfect month to focus on your heart health!
Each February, the U.S. shines the spotlight on heart disease. While it’s the leading cause of death among American men and women, cardiovascular disease is largely preventable through maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), risk factors for heart disease and stroke include diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking or being overweight. Having multiple risk factors increases your risk.
History of American Heart Month
The first American Heart Month was created by a proclamation from President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. Johnson himself had suffered a heart attack and aimed to raise awareness about the disease. Each U.S. president since has issued the annual proclamation.
During February, health organizations emphasize the importance of cardiovascular health and the need for continued research into heart disease.
COVID-19 Pandemic and Cardiovascular Health
This year’s American Heart Month is more important than ever, due to the impact of COVID-19. Based on scientific research, coronavirus can have potentially harmful effects on the cardiovascular system, including heart attack and stroke.
Compounding this concern, during the pandemic many people let their physical fitness and healthy eating habits slip, especially during lockdowns. Alcohol consumption increased on average. Many Americans put off routine physical exams, meaning disease may not be detected until an emergency arises.
Tips for a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle
Certain risk factors are outside your control, like your age, family history, race and gender (for example, women have higher risk than men). But others may be managed through healthy lifestyle choices. Talk to your doctor for advice.
The American Heart Association guidelines include these tips:
- Get regular checkups from your health care professional.
- Do not smoke or vape.
- Keep weight in a healthy range.
- Control high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.
- Get a minimum of 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity physical activity each week (30 minutes a day, 5 days a week).
- Eat a heart healthy diet.
- Find ways to reduce stress and relax, such as meditation.
- Get quality sleep, 7-8 hours per night.
Making healthier lifestyle choices to reduce your risk of heart failure doesn’t require a big overhaul all at once. Small steps toward progress are better than taking no action.
Need More Help?
Natural heart health supplements and homeopathic remedies can support cardiovascular health. Some of the best supplements for heart health can be found here.
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- “American Heart Month Drop-in Article.” National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Accessed January 28, 2022. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/education-and-awareness/heart-month/slides
- “U.S. commemorates 57th consecutive American Heart Month in February.” American Heart Association. Accessed January 28, 2022. https://www.heart.org/en/around-the-aha/february-is-american-heart-month
- “Reclaim your health during American Heart Month in February.” American Heart Association. Accessed January 28, 2022. https://www.heart.org/en/around-the-aha/reclaim-your-health-during-american-heart-month-in-february