American Heart Month
Welcome to the 58th American Heart Month! For 58 years now, health organizations around the country have designated the month of February to focusing on cardiovascular health and education. Did you know that the nation's leading cause of death is cardiovascular disease? In 2020, the CDC reports 696,962 people died from heart diseases in the United States alone. That's why we are here to help educate you on heart health and the prevention of heart disease.
What is Heart Disease?
Heart disease is a general term for various diseases that affect the cardiovascular system. These include any condition affecting the heart and blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood to organs and tissues of the body. These conditions include stroke, hypertension, coronary artery disease, rheumatic heart diseases, cardiomyopathies, and congenital heart diseases.
How to Prevent Heart Disease
The Center For Disease Control and Prevention's for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention offers several suggestions for people to protect their cardiovascular health.
The most important one is maintaining a healthy lifestyle to reduce the chances of developing hypertension, better known as high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is the "silent killer" because it has no symptoms. Only 26% of people with high blood pressure have it under control. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated 47.2% of all Americans 18 and older have hypertension.
The best way to prevent high blood pressure is to eat a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, and other proteins.
This suggests that the American Heart Association's specific dietary requirements are important advice to prevent heart disease. Furthermore, to keep a healthy weight and to avoid obesity, the Heart Foundation, an organization under the direction of cardiologist Dr. P.K. Shah, suggests that you engage in daily physical activity for a minimum of 30 minutes per day.
High cholesterol is another cardiovascular disease risk factor.
Reducing High Cholesterol
People who eat a high-sodium, low-fiber diet are at an increased risk of developing heart disease. In addition to exercising and maintaining a healthy weight, the American Heart Association ays to eat no more than 2,300 milligrams of salt per day. Americans consume more than 3,400 milligrams of salt per day, which is a lot more than the recommended amount.
Also, reduce saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet. The American Heart Association advises getting less than 1,500 milligrams of cholesterol per day.
Early detection of health problems is key to a healthy lifestyle. The CDC and the American Heart Association recommend making sure to schedule regular checkups with your primary care physician. See your doctor at least once a year to check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. If you have a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, you should visit the doctor more frequently.
People with diabetes have an increased risk of developing heart disease.
The CDC offers a few suggestions to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, such as maintaining a healthy weight and food choices. You should engage in regular physical activity for at least 30 minutes per day on most days of the week.
For those at risk of heart disease, it's vital to take preventative steps and schedule regular checkups. For everyone else, taking care of your weight and eating healthy can help you avoid other conditions that may increase the likelihood of having a stroke or coronary artery disease.
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