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When you think about February, you may think: Valentine’s Day, chocolate, love, or maybe anything that’s anti those things.  But, one thing to remember this month is our HEARTS.

February is American Heart Month.  While your heart works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, how often do you think about it?  And how often do you take action to protect the health of your heart?  Now’s the time to really start thinking about how you can take better care of yourself.

Heart disease and other cardiovascular issues are on the rise.  Many factors can contribute to health issues, but you also have ways you can be proactive about your health.  You may think it won’t happen to you, but you never know.

Being informed is important.  Learn warning signs and symptoms of heart-related issues.  Talk to your doctor, especially if heart disease runs in your family.  Start with small daily actions to help reduce or prevent your risk of developing heart problems.

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a major issue among Americans.  According to the CDC, high blood pressure affects nearly half of the adult population in the U.S.  Some people are affected and don’t even know.

Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to heart disease and stroke.  These two things are a leading cause of death in the United States.  The good news is, it is treatable and preventable. Start with getting your blood pressure checked regularly.

High blood pressure can develop overtime, some as a result of unhealthy lifestyle choices.  Having diabetes or being overweight can increase your risks as well.  Women who are pregnant can also be at risk.

Source: CDC

Take our Heart Health Quiz here!

Below we have tips, facts and more to help you stay in the know with resources you can use to take charge of your health.

  • 5 Facts About High Blood Pressure

    1. High blood pressure could be linked to dementia and loss of cognitive function.
    2. Yes, young people can be affected too.  It doesn’t just happen to older adults.  Close to 1 in 4 adults ages 20 to 44 have high blood pressure.
    3. Unfortunately, it doesn’t usually have any symptoms, which is why it is often called the “silent killer.”
    4. Many have high blood pressure and don’t know.  See your doctor regularly and ask about your blood pressure numbers.
    5. Women and African Americans have unique risks with high blood pressure.  Women who are pregnant can have complications, and it could lead to kidney and other organ damage and premature delivery.  African Americans have higher rates of high blood pressure and are more likely to be hospitalized.

    Source: CDC

  • Lifestyle Changes

    If you have high blood pressure, you may be able to lower it through making a few lifestyle changes.  You should always discuss your options and get approval from your doctor on any changes in your physical activity and your diet and/or supplements.

    A few common recommendations include:

    • Getting more exercise- at least 150 minutes per week, about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week
    • Not smoking
    • Limiting alcohol
    • Eating a healthier diet and limiting salt intake
    • Keeping a healthy weight
    • Managing stress
  • American Heart Month History

    1200+ B.C.E. – Some Egyptian mummies showed signs of caridovascular disease.  Proof that heart disease isn’t just a modern problem.  Researchers think the high-fat diet and sedentary lifestyle of upper-class Egyptians could have contributed to their health, but other issues could also have been to blame as well.

    1924- Heart disease research groups come together to form the American Heart Association to coordinate and promote their efforts to understand and treat heart disease.


    1950s- 
    Doctors start to understand the role of cholesterol and low-fat diets and their correlation to cardiovascular health.

    May 1967- The first bypass surgery was performed by Argentinian surgeon Rene Favaloro from the Cleveland Clinic.  This would change heart treatment forever.  Coronary artery bypass grafting is now the most common cardiac surgery in the world.

    Source: National Today

  • Ways To Observe American Heart Month

    1. Educate yourself! Learn the risk factors, know your family history, and discover ways to help prevent or reduce your risks.

    2. Start Heart Healthy Habits.  Stay active, or start moving your body more each day.  Eat healthier– start small with making little changes, like drinking water and limiting sodas; eating fruit and veggies for snacks, etc.

    3. Get Tested- ask your doctor to check your blood pressure and check your cholesterol.  This will be a great indicator if you’re at risk, and your doctor will be able to help you monitor and make adjustments as needed.

    Source: National Today

  • More Facts About Heart Health

    1. Heart Attack symptoms can be different for women.  These could include pain in the back, arm, neck or shoulder; nausea; fatigue; shortness of breath; vomiting.

    2. Young women are at higher risk than men.  Women under 50 are twice as likely to die of a heart attack as men in the same age range.

    3. Mondays are the worst.  Heart attacks are actually more likely to occur on Monday mornings.  This is often thought to be as a result of disruption in our sleep pattern from the weekend, which could lead to increased blood pressure and other nervous system changes.  Of course, stress is also a contributing factor!  Also, Mondays after Daylight Saving changes are also common times for heart attacks.

    4. Sorry, diet soda lovers.  Drinking one or more diet sodas a day can increase your chances of heart attack.  In fact, your risk is 43% higher than those who drink regular soda or none at all!