In 1964, President Johnson declared February as American Heart Month, 9 years after his heart attack. Since then, every president has continued with the February tradition. Why does heart and cardiovascular disease have its own month? According to the American Heart Foundation and its website heart.org, “Cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke combined) kills about 2,300 a day. Obesity in both youth and adults is at an all-time high, youth are being diagnosed with heart disease earlier than ever and people just ZIP codes apart can live 25 years less than their neighbors because of disparities in health.” Some interesting additional facts from Heart.org:
- Heart disease kills more people than all forms of cancer combined.
- Heart attacks affect more people every year than the population of Dallas, Texas.
- 83% believe that heart attacks can be prevented but aren’t motivated to do anything.
- 72% of Americans don’t consider themselves at risk for heart disease.
- And 58% put no effort into improving their heart health.
Go back and reread those facts. 83% aren’t motivated to do anything? 58% put no effort into improving their heart health?
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Each year over 650,000 Americans die of heart disease according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But there are some preventions that you can put into place, and we all know what they are … healthy diet, exercise, controlling blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol and no excessive alcohol use. Smoking is another huge risk for heart disease, among other diseases it contributes to.
Medicine has improved significantly over the years in the treatment of cardiovascular disease and the cardiovascular emergencies including heart attacks and strokes. But the best way to survive heart disease is to not get to the point where you need angioplasty, stents, bypass grafts, etc.
Where do we start? I would recommend seeing your provider, getting your cholesterol and sugar checked. Start eating a heart-healthy diet, exercising and stop smoking. Your provider has many tools and access to other specialists that can help you accomplish these goals.
There’s no time like the present to start putting your health first, and maybe putting a dent in the number one killer in the United States.
Have a great week, and be healthier today than you were yesterday!