Mind and Body: Show your heart some love this month

Published 10:29 am Monday, February 6, 2017

By Haley Tye

Clark County Health Dept. intern

Although it only weighs approximately eight to 10 ounces, the heart is one of the most important organs in the human body.

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In less than 60 seconds, the heart is able to pump blood to every cell in the body. The American Heart Association sponsors the annual American Heart Month in February to raise awareness about heart disease. The American Heart Month has taken place every February since 1964.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Roughly one in four deaths in the United States is caused by heart disease and stroke. Although many individuals are affected by heart disease-related illnesses, healthy choices can help prevent the onset and continuation of these illnesses.

There are several risk factors which can make an individual a more likely candidate for heart disease including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, pre-diabetes and diabetes, unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity and exercise, excessive alcohol use and a family history of heart disease.

While some risk factors such as genetics and family history cannot be changed, many of the risk factors for heart disease are preventable. Exercising at least 30 minutes per day and eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in sodium are great ways to guard against heart disease.

There are several ways to get involved in American Heart Month this February. For starters, evaluate your overall heart health and see if you possess any of the risk factors for heart disease. If so, determine which risk factors are preventable. If you do not engage in enough physical activity, try taking a brisk walk around your neighborhood several times a week. If your diet contains many foods high in sodium, try and add one or two more fruits and vegetables into your daily meal routine. If you do not possess any of the risk factors for heart disease, try encouraging a family member or friend who may be struggling with his or her heart health.

More than 600,000 Americans die from heart disease each year. Help take a stand against heart disease by participating in American Heart Month. Whether it is changing some of your own daily habits or educating your community on the dangers of this disease, we can all fight against our nation’s number one killer. Visit www.heart.org for more information on American Heart Month and the American Heart Association.

Love your heart. Make a change and join the 2017 Wellness Challenge. Sign-up from Feb. 15-22. It’s only $10 to participate! Weigh-in locations include Clark Clinic Medical Plaza-Center for Rehabilitation, Clark County Health Department and Winchester-Clark County Parks & Recreation. There are prizes, free classes and discounts. Visit www.ccactivitycoalition.com/wellness-challenge for more information.

Please visit the Clark County Health Department website at www.clarkhealthdept.org. Find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @CCHealthDept.