The national campaign to heighten awareness about heart health is led by organizations like the American Heart Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Their mission is to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes in the United States by the year 2017. Their initiative includes building a preventative mindset in every American. By simply keeping track of your blood pressure, knowing your family history, eating more fruits and vegetables, and remaining active - Americans can improve their heart health, ultimately living longer. The truth is that over 60 million Americans have high blood pressure. People with high blood that do not seek treatment or modify their nutrition and behavior to lower their blood pressure, are at a much higher risk of heart failure, stroke, heart disease and even kidney failure.
Reason why everyone should care about heart disease.
- Most people know someone that has heart disease.
- It is a completely preventable condition (in most cases).
- It can effect young people.
- Hypertension or high blood pressure, does not correlate to type ‘A’ personalities. Even the calmest and most patient people can suffer from high blood pressure.
- Hypertension has nothing to do with your personality traits or how you handle a stressful situation.
- Heart disease does not only effect overweight people.
- Non-smokers can also suffer from heart disease.
- Vegetarians can also suffer from heart disease.
The goal of highlighting the above points is to elevate your awareness that heart disease does not choose one population and attack them. Although it can become a real threat to anyone, it is preventable and in most cases manageable (early recognition). The most important and convenient indicator is regular blood pressure readings. It is the simplest way to screen for high blood pressure and often opens the investigative path to evaluate if a person does have some form of cardiovascular disease (also called coronary artery disease CAD). The next step is to have your cholesterol and glucose levels taken. Today, this is a simple process. If you want to avoid expensive visits to a doctor’s office, Walgreens offers this type of blood panel at a very reasonable price. In fact, HEART.org recommends that these tests begin at the age of 20.
No More Excuses!
The goal is to identify your risk at an early stage or early age. CAD can be prevented with all sorts of positive lifestyle changes: re-organizing your diet, becoming more active, avoiding weight gains, decreasing sodium in-take and regular mini health check ups. Clearly this is not something new. This message has been consistent for years from organizations like the American Heart Association and CDC. The difference today, compared to this message in 2005, 1995, 1985 and so on; is healthy living has become affordable. Today, it is easy and cheap to get screened. Groceries stores offer many affordable healthy options. Recipes and knowledge about cooking healthier dishes is splattered everywhere you look. Exercise and active living is available everywhere and a lot of it is free (online , you tube, websites). There are no excuses left to ignore your heart health.
If this blog has got you motivated or concerned about your heart health, use the month of February to support the cause. Here is a list of great events throughout the month that you can support to raise awareness and learn more. They all offer a social component. Forward them to people you know who need guidance and help to better manage their heart health.
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