February is Heart Health Awareness month!

Did you know that every 40 seconds someone has a heart attack in the US?  In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Several health conditions such as: your lifestyle, and your age and family history can increase your risk for heart disease. These are called risk factors. About half of all Americans (47%) have at least one of the three key risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking.  The good news is heart disease is preventable, by living a healthy lifestyle; you can help keep your blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar normal and lower your risk for heart disease and heart attack. A healthy lifestyle includes the following:

-Eating a healthy diet

-Choosing healthful meal and snack options can help you avoid heart disease and its complications. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and fewer processed foods

-Maintaining a healthy weight.

Being overweight or obese increases your risk for heart disease. If you know your weight and height, you can calculate your BMI at CDC’s Assessing Your Weight website.


-Getting enough physical activity.

Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar levels. For adults, the Surgeon General recommends 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, like brisk walking or bicycling, every week. Children and adolescents should get 1 hour of physical activity every day.


-Not smoking or using other forms of tobacco.

Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for heart disease.


-Limiting alcohol use.

Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can raise your blood pressure. Men should have no more than 2 drinks per day, and women only 1.

Some of the risk factors for heart disease cannot be controlled, such as your age or family history. But you can take steps to lower your risk by changing the factors you can control.


Source: https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/prevention.htm


Information submitted by: Alice Bailey, Intern at Clark County Health Department