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Raise Heart Health Awareness during the month of February... and beyond!

Source: CDC Heart Disease Awareness
Heart disease is not limited to older adults. In fact, it is more common in younger adults. Nearly half of all Americans have risk factors for heart disease. Many high-risk behaviors are appearing at younger ages each year.
 
February is American Heart Month, making it the perfect time to learn about your risk for heart disease as well as the steps that can be taken to help your heart.
 
 

1. High blood pressure

Millions of Americans have or are at risk of developing high blood pressure or hypertension. Additionally, about half of this population do not have it under control. Having uncontrolled high blood pressure is one of the biggest risks for heart disease, stroke, and other types of degenerative health conditions.

 

2. High cholesterol

Unhealthy living habits such as smoking, unhealthy eating, and lack of physical activity contribute to increasingly elevated LDL cholesterol levels, which increases the risk of developing heart disease.

3. Smoking

More than 35 million American adults currently smoke, with thousands of young people each day developing these habits with vaping and other popular types of e-cigarettes. The use of tobacco products damages blood vessels, reduces lung capacity, and can lead to heart disease among other health complications.

You are in control of your heart health starting at day 1. These steps can help you be heart-health conscious:

  • Do not smoke, or kick the habit of smoking. Just by quitting smoking, you will improve your overall quality of life and add years back.
  • Maintain regular physical exams with your healthcare team. Keep aware of your health and take the steps necessary to mitigate health risks as they arise.
  • Eat heart-healthy foods such as a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry and fish, nuts and legumes, and non-tropical vegetable oils.
  • Stay active. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity (or an equal combination of both) each week.

For more information on the factors that increase the risk of heart disease, additional steps you can take toward optimal heart health, visit the CDC website and the American Heart Association resource page.

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