February is American Heart Month
Heart disease is America’s number-one killer, with about 82.6 million people in the United States having some form of cardiovascular disease. Celebrate American Heart Month by reviewing the heart disease risk factors that you can control and take steps to decrease your risk:
- Top risk factors are: Smoking, including cigarettes, cigars and pipe smoking
- High blood pressure causes the heart to work harder and enlarge and weaken
- High total blood cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol levels
- Cardiovascular disease kills more people each year than cancer, lower respiratory diseases and accidents.
- Cigarette smokers are two to three times more likely to die from coronary heart disease than nonsmokers.
- Heart disease is the number one killer in women age 20 and over, killing approximately one woman every minute.
- Diabetes. Even if diabetes is under control, people with diabetes have a higher risk of dying from a heart attack
- Being overweight or obese, especially with excess abdominal fat. The excess fat puts strain on the heart, raises blood pressure, raises total cholesterol and triglyceride levels and lowers HDL cholesterol
- Physical inactivity or living a sedentary lifestyle
So what can you do to protect yourself from heart disease? While there are some risk factors you can’t control, such as age, gender, heredity, race and diabetes, there are risk factors for heart disease you CAN control, like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, exercise, obesity and stress.
By eating a healthy diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and exercising regularly for at least 30 minutes each day, you can do wonders for your heart. Determine whether or not your weight is within a healthy range, don’t smoke and limit how much alcohol you drink. You should also talk with your health care provider about your heart care. Talk to him or her about monitoring your blood pressure, testing your cholesterol levels and regularly monitoring your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes.
And if you already take good care of your heart, then you can help fight heart disease by encouraging others to do the same.
Are you “Heart-Healthy?”
Partner with your Physician and your Haggen Pharmacist to ensure you get the most out of your Healthcare Professionals and Partners!