February is American Heart Month, so the American Heart Association (AHA) is calling out for awareness against issues that affect the entire world and claim millions of lives each year.
- Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S.
- In 2015, it killed 801,000 people in the U.S.
- 129,000 of them died due to stroke
- In 2015, heart disease also accounted for 31% of total global deaths
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world, and the problem is also highly pronounced in the United States. In fact, it’s a major issue for the healthcare industry and damages the lives of numerous people. They’re affected by problems such as heart attack, stroke, arrhythmia, heart valve defects, and other unfortunate incidents that are the consequence of an unhealthy heart.
Last year, in 2015, the AHA released their latest report, stating that cardiovascular disease claimed 801,000 lives in the United States, and stroke killed 129,000 people. In addition, 31% of all deaths around the world in 2015 were caused by heart disease, with 80% of them in mid-to-low income families. It’s a matter of great importance and one that should be given proper attention by the public. At the moment, it affects an estimated number of 85.6 million Americans.
However, cardiovascular disease can be prevented in a majority of cases. The AHA offered a few tips on how to maintain a healthy heart and advice to assure that you will live a long and happy life.
The association discourages smoking, first and foremost. If you’re smoking, quit. If someone you know and love is smoking within your home, encourage them to quit for the sake of both your hearts. Another important factor is nutrition. It’s a vital component that can be dramatically impacting on our health, and a good diet can be our biggest weapon against heart disease. It should include vegetables, fruits, whole grain, lean protein, fat-free and high-fiber foods.
It’s one of the most easily controllable factors and can improve cholesterol levels, blood pressure, in addition to cutting the risk of diabetes and obesity.
It’s crucial that we reduce our cholesterol by lowering our intake of saturated fats and trans fats, and keep our blood pressure below 120/80. It’s as important as exercising and staying active each day. Studies have shown that even a low amount of fitness is better than nothing. AHA advises to start slowly, perhaps 10 minutes of exercise 5 times per week, and your heart will thank you for it. It’s also important to reduce stress levels, and eliminate factors that are stress-inducing from our lives.
This is due to the fact that it may lead to overeating or smoking, both of which are detrimental to heart health.
Alcohol intake should be limited, but not eliminated completely. Studies have shown that alcohol abuse will damage our heart and lead to cardiovascular disease. However, they have also shown that the risk of heart disease is lower in moderate drinkers (1 drink per day for women, 2 drinks per day for men) than in non-drinkers. So, one glass of wine with your dinner might actually be beneficial.
Some risk factors unfortunately cannot be controlled, such as age, gender, and genetics. So, it’s in our best interest to do what we can to prevent cardiovascular problems by placing our attention on the factors that we can control. February’s American Heart Month aims to send the message of eating right, exercising, reducing stress, and make sure to get your heart checked.
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