February is American Heart Month, a month dedicated to encouraging Americans to focus on their heart health. It is the perfect time to get educated about the risks of heart disease and simple ways to help prevent it.
Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, is the leading cause of death in the world with more than 17.9 million deaths each year. According to the American Heart Association, however, about 80 percent of cardiovascular diseases can be prevented with education and action.
Even small changes to your diet and lifestyle can make a big difference for your heart. Here are some ways to take control of your heart health this month and every month:
- Avoid smoking. Smoking damages the blood vessels, which can lead to heart disease.
- Manage conditions. Work with health care professionals to manage risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
- Make heart-healthy eating changes. Swapping out foods high in sodium for fruits and vegetables can help lower blood pressure.
- Stay active. Being more active can lower your blood pressure, boost your levels of good cholesterol and keep your weight under control.
Learn more about American Heart Month here.