February is American Heart Month and a great time to pause and take stock of what you’re doing to maintain a healthy heart.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, contributing to about 600,000 deaths each year.
As a leading nonprofit for healthy living, the Y is committed to improving the nation’s health and well-being. Through proven disease prevention programs and initiatives to improve cardiovascular health, the Y is helping decrease the number of people diagnosed with or at risk of developing serious health issues like heart disease.
The root causes of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, are unhealthy behaviors such as physical inactivity, unhealthy eating and tobacco use. With the presence into more than 10,000 communities across the nation, the Y has the ability to address the root causes of chronic disease at both the individual and community level and improve health and well-being.
The Y also partners with other organizations to promote health and well-being through national initiatives like Million Hearts®. Organized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the CDC, this initiative aims to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by empowering Americans to make healthy choices.
Show your heart some love this month by considering these tips to help you maintain a healthy heart:
- Decrease the amount of salt in your diet. Eat fresh and frozen fruit, vegetables and read nutrition labels. Dietary guidelines recommend Americans limit their sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day.
- Be physically active for at least 150 minutes a week to help maintain a healthy weight, lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
- Don’t smoke. Using tobacco greatly increases the risk for heart disease. Find helpful information about tobacco use and quitting at www.smokefree.gov.
- Monitor your blood pressure and take medications prescribed by your doctor to keep blood pressure at a healthy level. Source: CDC