Our View: Think about your heart in February

Published 9:34 am Thursday, February 15, 2018

February is National Heart Health Month, and appropriately so.

While we spend Feb. 14 celebrating the emotional tendencies of the heart, the rest of the month is dedicated to raising awareness about the important of the hearts physical well-being.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., killing about 780,000 people annually.

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Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people of most racial/ethnic groups in the United States, including African Americans, Hispanics and whites. For Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders and American Indians or Alaska Natives, heart disease is second only to cancer.

Cardiovascular diseases claim more lives than all forms of cancer combined.

In the U.S., someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds, and every minute dies from a heart disease-related event.

Heart disease is actually a broad term used for a variety of disease of the heart and blood vessels, including coronary artery disease, heart rhythm disease and defects of the heart. Most commonly, when referring to heart disease, wellness advocates are targeting coronary artery disease, which is the most common type of heart disease killing about 380,000 people each year.

This disease can lead to heart attack and even sudden cardiac death.

The good news is, despite the high mortality rate, coronary artery disease is highly preventable.

February is all about raising awareness about how to reduce this rates of this disease.

Here are some tips from The Heart Foundation:

— Exercise for at least 30 minutes five days a week.

— Adopt a diet low in salt, saturated and trans fats, and high in unsaturated fats.

— Maintain a normal body weight with caloric adjustment.

— Take fish oil supplements.

— Avoid smoking and recreational drug use.

— Know and review your risk factors with a trusted physician.

— High-risk individuals should consider taking a daily aspirin.

There are more tips available on theheartfoundation.org.

Making heart-healthy choices, knowing your family health history and the risk factors for heart disease, having regular check-ups and working with your physician to manage your health are all integral aspects of saving lives from this often silent killer.

This month take the time to evaluate your own heart health with a trusted physician and then encourage your friends and family to do the same.