Mind and Body: February is Heart Health Awareness month

Did you know that every 40 seconds someone has a heart attack in the US?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Several health conditions such as your lifestyle, your age and family history can increase your risk for heart disease.

Nearly half of all Americans have at least one of the three key risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol or smoking.

Heart disease is preventable by living a healthy lifestyle.

You can help keep your blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar normal and lower your risk for heart disease and heart attack.

A healthy lifestyle includes the following:

— Eating a healthy diet

— Choosing healthful meal and snack options can help you avoid heart disease and its complications.

Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and fewer processed foods

— Maintaining a healthy weight.

Being overweight or obese increases your risk of heart disease.

If you know your weight and height, you can calculate your BMI at CDC’s Assessing Your Weight website.

— Getting enough physical activity.

Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar levels.

The surgeon general recommends two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise — such as brisk walking or bicycling — every week for adults. Children and adolescents should get one hour of physical activity every day.

— Not smoking or using other forms of tobacco.

Cigarette smoking significantly increases your risk of heart disease.

If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for heart disease.

— Limiting alcohol use.

Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can raise your blood pressure. Men should have no more than two drinks per day, and women only one.

Some of the risk factors for heart disease cannot be controlled, such as your age or family history. But you can take steps to lower your risk by changing the factors you can control.

Clark County Health Department provides programs for the entire family, including WIC, HANDS, family planning, well child care/immunizations, and home health care. For more information on all of our services, call 859/744-4482 or visit website at www.clarkhealthdept.org.