Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in United States, especially among women. Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease. February is observed American Heart Month to raise awareness about the condition, how to improve heart health and reduce the risks of the condition.
As younger adults face an increased risk, the focus in 2018 is on helping younger adults “take control” by making the right lifestyle changes. In many communities across the U.S., death rates are actually increasing among adults age 35 to 64. Their rates of risk factors such as physical inactivity, tobacco use, and hypertension are also increasing. This month, everybody is encouraged to join the CDC Division of Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention and the Million Hearts Initiative of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Resources in informing younger adults that they are not immune to heart disease, but that they can reduce their risk-at any age-through lifestyle changes and by managing medical conditions.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and many groups across the country celebrate National Wear Red Day on the first Friday in February every year. This year, National Wear Red Day was observed on February 2. National Wear Red Day raises awareness about heart disease and educates Americans about the fact that while heart disease is the leading cause of death, it is largely preventable. If people choose a healthy lifestyle and manage their health conditions, heart disease can often be prevented. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create opportunities for people to make healthier choices.
The risk factors of heart diseases are smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, overweight/obesity, physical inactivity, diabetes, family history of early coronary heart disease, and age (for women, 55 and older). To help people, especially young adults, take control of their heart health, the Million Hearts Initiative makes the following recommendations:
- Find time to be active. Aim for at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week.
- Make healthy eating a habit. You can try healthier versions of your favorite recipes by lowering sodium and trans fat, and adding more fruits and vegetables.
- Quit tobacco-for good.
- Check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels regularly. As high blood pressure and high cholesterol are major risk factors for heart disease, you need to take steps to control your levels.
- Stick to your medication routine to manage and control conditions that can put your heart at risk.