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  3. American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month

Release Date: February 8, 2023

February is American Heart Month, a time when all people can focus on their cardiovascular health. Did you know heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States? About 697,000 people die of heart disease in the U.S. every year – that’s one in every five deaths. Furthermore, every year, about 805,000 Americans have a heart attack.

Heart Disease Risk Factors

While genetics may play a role in your risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, unhealthy blood cholesterol, diabetes and obesity are key risk factors for heart disease. Additionally, lifestyle choices can also put people at a higher risk for heart disease, including:

  • Eating a diet high in saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol.
  • Tobacco use, and nicotine products.
  • Not getting enough physical activity.
  • Drinking too much alcohol.

Treatment and Prevention

When it comes to beating heart disease, changing your choices can lower your risk. Here are some ways to prevent heart disease and live a healthier and more 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. Remember to consult with your doctor prior to starting an exercise program for approval and recommendations if you have a disability or mobility challenges.
  • 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 who may have resources and strategies to help. Ask your family and friends for support in your effort.
  • Limit alcohol use. Only drink alcohol in moderation. Drinking too much can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure, or stroke.
  • Know your numbers. Contact your healthcare provider to learn how to manage and maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Save a life. Find 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: 02/08/2023
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