February: American Heart Month

FEBRUARY 2020: American Heart Month and Go Red for Women

The Nation Goes Red in February

February is American Heart Month, a federally designated event, and the ideal time for Americans to think about their heart health and encourage their friends, families and communities to get involved.

  • The first American Heart Month, which took place in February 1964, was proclaimed by President Lyndon B. Johnson via Proclamation 3566 on December 30, 1963.
  • The Congress, by joint resolution on that date, has requested the President to issue annually a proclamation designating February as American Heart Month.

  • While American Heart Month is a federally designated month in the United States, it’s important to realize that cardiovascular disease knows no borders.

Go Red for Women®

Go Red for Women® is the American Heart Association’s global initiative to end heart disease and stroke in women. Launched in 2004 to close the gap in awareness, Go Red quickly expanded into a worldwide movement dedicated to removing the barriers women face to achieving good health and wellbeing.

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, killing more women than all forms of cancer combined. 

Contributing Risk Factors

Many of the conditions and behaviors that put people at risk for heart disease are appearing at younger ages:

  • High blood pressure. Millions of Americans have high blood pressure, and about half don’t have it under control. Uncontrolled high blood pressure is one of the largest risks for heart disease.
  • High blood cholesterol.High cholesterol increases the risks for heart disease. High cholesterol levels can occur with individuals who have diabetes, obesity, smoking, or unhealthy food habits.
  • Smoking.Over 37 million adults are smokers. Smoking damages the blood vessels and cause heart disease.

Other conditions and behaviors that affect your risk for heart disease include:

  • Obesity. Extra weight can put stress on your heart. 1 in 3 Americans have obesity. 
  • Diabetes.Diabetes causes sugar build up in the blood that can damage blood vessels and nerves that help control the heart muscle.
  • Physical inactivity.Regular physical activity helps keep the heart and blood vessels healthy.
  • Unhealthy eating patterns.Most Americans eat too much sodium which increases blood pressure. Diets high in trans-fat, saturated fat, and sugar increases the risk factor for heart disease.

You can help control your heart health

You’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to your heart. Learn how to be heart healthy at any age.

Don’t smoke.If you don’t smoke, you can reduce your risk of heart disease. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.

Manage conditions.Work with your health care provider to manage conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Make heart-healthy eating changes.  Eat food low in trans-fat, saturated fat, added sugar and sodium.Try to have half of your plate filled with vegetables and fruits and lower your sodium intake.

Stay active. Exercise for at least 150 minutes per week. You can break up your exercise into smaller blocks throughout the week.

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