American Heart Month is a campaign centered on spreading awareness about heart disease and strokes and promoting living a heart-healthy lifestyle. Throughout the month of February, there are activities to participate in, literature to read, and more. Leading up to February, you should take some time to understand the importance of this campaign as well as the importance of your own heart health.

Understanding Heart Disease

Heart disease is a general term for several conditions that affect the heart. The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease. This is when your blood vessels are blocked with plaque and it increases your blood pressure and causes your heart to work harder. Other types of heart disease include irregular heart rate, heart issues from birth, diseases of the heart muscle, and heart valve disease. Your heart can be affected in many different ways and it’s important to be aware of all types of heart disease.

Risk Factors

Heart disease can be caused by a number of risk factors. As expected, many of them are tied directly to your heart. They included high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol. You are also at risk if you are obese, have a history of obesity in your family, or have diabetes/prediabetes. Other risk factors include smoking, lack of exercise, poor diet, a family history of heart disease, or being older than 55 for women and over 45 for men.

Living a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle

While heart disease is a very common chronic illness, it is preventable. By taking care of your body, and specifically your heart, you can decrease your risk of developing heart disease. To begin with, you should understand what risk factors affect you individually. Not everyone has the same risk, so you need to know what actions you need to take. Next, you should begin developing habits that help you to live healthier. Eating a more balanced diet that cuts back on processed foods and sugar is beneficial. Increased exercise helps to strengthen your heart. Avoiding certain substances, like tobacco and alcohol, can also help you to be healthier.

Spreading Awareness

To spread awareness, you can participate in several different activities throughout the month of February. You can take the time to understand your risk factors, cook meals that are good for your heart, get your blood pressure taken, practice relaxing activities, and more. As you do all these, you can post on social media for all to see. Your actions can inspire others to learn more and spread awareness too. Additionally, you can find plenty of information packets you can share with others.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America. It’s tragic that the numbers are so high despite heart disease being largely preventable. Spreading awareness is an important part of reducing the number of people who are affected.

To prepare for American Heart Month, you should visit your doctor at Premier Family Medical to check in on your heart health. Click here to learn more about getting your blood pressure checked.