February is American Heart Month, a national campaign to raise awareness about heart health and the risk factors for heart disease.
Heart disease is still the leading cause of death for men and women and for people from most racial and ethnic groups in the United States. In fact, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and CVD mortality are increasing in working-age adults, and Black adults are among those bearing the highest burden of CVD and the related health consequences. Black adults in the United States die from heart disease at a rate two times higher than white adults.
In men, the risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) increases starting around age 45. In women, the risk for CHD increases starting around age 55. Fortunately, heart disease is largely preventable.
High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, an unhealthy diet, physical activity, excessive alcohol use, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. A family history of early heart disease is also a risk factor, especially if a father or brother is diagnosed before age 55, or a mother or sister is diagnosed before age 65. Most adults should have their blood pressure checked at least once a year, and more often if you already have high blood pressure.
By living a healthy lifestyle, you can help keep your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels normal and lower your risk for heart disease and heart attack. See here for more information.