February 14, 2022
American Heart safety consulting visual

Each February, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) celebrates American Heart Month by motivating Americans to adopt healthy lifestyles to prevent heart disease. In 2002, NHLBI created The Heart Truth — the first federally-sponsored national health education program designed to raise awareness about heart disease in women.

Heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women but you can do a lot to protect your heart and stay healthy. Heart-healthy living involves understanding your risk, making choices, and taking steps to reduce your chances of getting heart disease, including coronary heart disease — the most common type. Coronary and other types of heart disease cause heart attacks but, by taking preventive measures, you can lower your risk of developing heart disease and improve your overall health and well-being.

Steps toward heart-healthy living include:

  • Understanding your risk. Preventing heart disease starts with knowing what your risks factors are and what you can do to lower them
  • Getting your blood pressure and cholesterol checked. High blood pressure and high blood cholesterol are two of the major risk factors for heart disease
  • Choosing heart-healthy foods. Heart-healthy eating involves choosing certain foods, such as fruits and vegetables, while limiting others, such as saturated and trans fats and added sugars
  • Aiming for a healthy weight. A healthy weight for adults is usually when the body mass index (BMI) is between 18.5 and 24.9. Always talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about what BMI is right for you
  • Managing stress. Research suggests that an emotionally upsetting event, particularly one involving anger, can serve as a trigger for a heart attack or angina in some people. Stress can contribute to high blood pressure and other heart disease risk factors
  • Getting regular physical activity. Talk with your doctor before you start a new exercise plan and discuss how much and what types of physical activity are safe for you. Even modest amounts of physical activity are good for your health
  • Quitting smoking. Smoking can raise your risk of heart disease and heart attack and worsen other heart disease risk factors
  • Getting good-quality sleep. Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life

Studies show that people who have close relationships at home, work, or in their community tend to be healthier and live longer. One reason, according to NHLBI, is that we’re more successful at meeting our health goals when we join forces with others. NHLBI launched the #OurHearts movement to inspire us to protect and strengthen our hearts with the support of others. Let’s work together to prevent heart disease!

To learn more about American Heart Month, visit: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/educ.../american-heart-month/about

Credit to: NHLBI

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