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  1. Employee Resources
  2. News Room
  3. American Heart Month

American Heart Month

Release Date: February 2, 2021

February is American Heart Month. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States and is a major cause of disability. About 655,000 people die of heart disease in the U.S. every year – that’s one in every four deaths. Furthermore, every year, about 805,000 Americans have a heart attack.

Risk Factors

High blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. Several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at a higher risk for heart disease, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity and being overweight
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Family history of early coronary heart disease

Treatment and Prevention

When it comes to beating heart disease, change can be the cure. With proper diet and healthy lifestyle changes, you can manage your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels and lower your risk for heart disease and heart attack. Here are some ways to prevent heart disease and live a more healthy and active lifestyle.

  • Exercise regularly. Get at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week – that’s just 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. In addition, do muscle strengthening exercises at least 2 days a week.
  • Eat healthy foods. Choose items low in sodium, added sugar, and trans fats. Be sure to eat a high-fiber diet that emphasizes plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and beans.
  • Aim for a healthy weight. Choose heart healthy foods and get regular exercise to help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Reduce stress and improve sleep. Take steps to lower stress and follow healthy sleep practices. Try a relaxation strategy that incorporates mindfulness, such as yoga, deep breathing, or meditation.
  • Quit smoking and stop using tobacco products. Set a quit date and let those close to you know about it, including your doctor. Ask your family and friends for support in your effort.
  • Limit alcohol use. Only drink alcohol in moderation. Excessive alcohol intake can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure, or stroke
  • Know your numbers. Check your blood pressure and cholesterol regularly.
  • Save a life. Find the time to talk with your loved ones about heart disease. Have a heart-to-heart conversation and make a commitment about improving heart health together as a family.

Always consult with your physician or health professional before starting any diet or exercise plan. For more information on employee resources, please contact worklife@hq.dhs.gov

Last Updated: 02/02/2021
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