February has been dedicated American Heart Month to help raise awareness of heart disease and stroke and to provide tips to stay “heart healthy” for your loved ones. Heart disease is the number one killer; the best way to keep your heart healthy and help you avoid the number one killer for both men and women in the United States is to develop a healthy and active lifestyle.
American Heart Month can make a difference. We can use this month to raise awareness about heart disease and how people can prevent it, both at home and in the community. Here are just a few ideas:
- Encourage families to make small changes, like using spices to season their food instead of salt. Salty, fatty foods and foods that are high in dietary cholesterol can contribute to heart disease. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends eating less than 300 mg of cholesterol each day. Foods high in sugar, especially drinks with added sugars can contribute to obesity, and ultimately heart disease.
- Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol in excess are also major contributors to coronary artery disease. For women, more than one drink per day is considered excessive. For men, the number is two.
- Motivate teachers and administrators to make physical activity a part of the school. This can help students start good habits early.
- Ask doctors and nurses to be leaders in their communities by speaking out about ways to prevent heart disease.
- Learn the signs of heart attack, stroke, and cardiac arrest.
- “Rise Above Heart Failure” through awareness, education and support to improve the lives of people affected by this condition. The AHA strives to make a measurable impact by increasing the dialogue about heart failure, empowering patients to take a more active role in their care to help keep patients out of the hospital. It is through this initiative that the American Heart Association strives to make a measurable impact on heart failure by 2020.
The American Heart Association teams with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fights for stronger public health policies, and provides lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or join us, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or any of our offices around the country, or visit www.heart.org Also, visit: www.cdc.gov
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