February, known as American Heart Month, isn’t just for the lovers. February reminds us to take care of our hearts and consider the health risk factors that can contribute to heart disease.
American Heart Month teaches us ways to help reduce the risks of heart disease, while eliminating those factors that we have control of ourselves. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Heart disease does not just target older adults; it’s happening more and more to younger adults and children as well. There are some familiar factors that can contribute to heart disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, and unhealthy eating habits just to name a few.
However, the good news is communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create opportunities for people to make healthier choices. Here are some ways to spread the word in your community about ways to prevent heart disease and live healthier lives.
- Encourage: families to make small changes, like using spices to season their food instead of salt.
- Don’t smoke: Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
- Manage conditions: Work with your health care team to manage conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This includes taking any medicines you have been prescribed.
- Motivate: teachers and administrators to make physical activity a part of the school day. This can help students start good habits early.
- Ask: doctors and nurses to be leaders in their communities by speaking out about ways to prevent heart disease.