Heart Disease is the stealthiest killer in the US. Currently, heart disease remains the leading cause of death for men and women in the US taking approximately 1 million lives each year.1 We could consider this an epidemic in the US and what’s probably the most disturbing factor about heart disease is that it is the most preventable killer out there. So, how do we? Regular checkups with your physician, a balanced diet and regular exercise are highly effective and simple ways of managing your heart health.
Heart disease is such a problem in the US that in 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson declared February the first American Heart Month and it has remained so ever since.2 Yet, it is crucial to remember that every month and every day heart disease is still alive and flourishing.
- On average, every 40 seconds someone dies of heart disease.2
- 34% of Americans or 85.7 million US adults have hypertension.2
- Males are typically affected more than females.2
- On average, 30.4% of US adults or 1 in 3 adults do not engage in physical activity.2
- Adults between the ages of 35 to 64 are showing a higher rates of risk factor and heart disease than before.3
So, what can you do to take ownership of your heart health and make improvements on your own heart health?
Start somewhere. Remember this does not have to be formal exercise at the beginning, it can be a little extra walking or doing body weight squats during commercial breaks. Check out these posts (The Dreaded New Year’s Resolution or Staying Fit Through the Holidays) for some places to start.
Take Control of Your Eating Habits
There are so many things you can do to take control of your eating, Start simple. What’s the one small change that you think you can make? Eating more vegetables , if you don’t eat any currently, is actually a big change. So, although you may have just thought that, that’s too big for what I’m suggesting, pick something even smaller and simpler, something you can do without even thinking about it. Check out our Basic Nutrition Guidelines post for a place to start.
Hopefully this isn’t something you even have to worry about, but if it is there are several ways to get help quitting from behavioral therapy to medication to nicotine patches, to cold turkey. Talk with your physician, they can help you identify the best ways to help you quit.
- The Heart Foundation. https://www.theheartfoundation.org/heart-disease-facts/heart-awareness-month/
- American Heart Association. http://newsroom.heart.org/events/february-is-american-heart-month-5712350
- Annals of Epidemiology. Widespread recent increases in county-level heart disease mortality across age groups [online]. 2017. [cited 2018 Jan 19]. Available from URL: http://www.annalsofepidemiology.org/article/S1047-2797(17)30868-2/fulltext?elsca1=etoc&elsca2=email&elsca3=1047-2797_201712_27_12_&elsca4=Epidemiology%7CPublic%20Health%7CHealth%20Policy
- Million Hearts. https://millionhearts.hhs.gov/news-media/events/heart-month.html