February has been designated as American Heart Health Month. Heart Disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in American. From experiences with my clients and with my family, we must all be conscious of our heart health.
Some sobering statistics from the Centers for Disease Control.
Heart disease is a major problem. Every year, about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack. About 600,000 people die from heart disease in the United States each year—that’s 1 out of every 4 deaths. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.
The term “heart disease” refers to several types of heart conditions. The most common type in the United States is coronary heart disease (also called coronary artery disease), which occurs when a substance called plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. Coronary heart disease can cause heart attack, angina, heart failure, and arrhythmias.
Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, costs the United States $312.6 billion each year.1 This total includes the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity. These conditions also are leading causes of disability, preventing Americans from working and enjoying family activities.
The CDC lists a number of helpful lifestyle changes that you can make to improve your heart health. These include:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Exercise regularly
- Monitor blood pressure
- Stop smoking
- Have your cholesterol checked
- Limit alcohol use.
To these recommendations, I would also add that you should get a yearly physical with your doctor. Particularly if you haven’t been monitoring your health, your primary care doctor is a great source at identifying cardiovascular issues before they become too advanced.
Make February the month you make changes to help your heart.
Read past posts on heart disease and disability here.