In late 1963, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared February as American Heart Month, making February 1964 the first nationally recognized American Heart Month in United States History. The declaration intended to raise awareness for cardiovascular disease, which remains the leading cause of death in the U.S.
Raising awareness increases public education of risk factors for cardiovascular disease as well as how best to combat and treat this disease. Advancements in medicine are improving prevention and treatment options.
The best chance of avoiding cardiovascular disease remains awareness and avoidance of risk factors, including but not limited to: obesity, physical inactivity, high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
It’s important to be aware of which risk factors pertain to us. Millions of people have high blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, be sure to see your doctor regularly and take whatever medication is prescribed to you in order to keep it under control. The majority of risk factors are fortunately things we can oftentimes make great strides towards dealing with on our own. With high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity, we can make great improvements to our bodies through eating healthy and getting some physical activity in throughout the week. In addition to eating well and exercising, there are a few other important ways for us to prevent heart disease, such as managing any conditions like high blood pressure and cholesterol and avoiding smoking cigarettes. If you’re already a smoker, try to scale it back, and eventually quit completely.
If you’re unsure if you’re at risk of cardiovascular disease, then go see your doctor. Be aware of the risk factors your doctor believes pertain to you and take steps to minimize their impact on your body through healthy lifestyle habits. Try to maintain a consistent exercise plan and a healthy and well-balanced diet.