Listen to Your Heart | Observing American Heart Month
It’s that time of year again: one month of all things red, roses, and romance. From grand gestures to simple displays of affection, February marks the month of love, and more importantly, where love comes from.
February is American Heart Month, a nationwide health holiday to support cardiovascular health here, there, and everywhere.
Since its start, American Heart Month has worked to promote healthier hearts and helped Americans reduce their risk of heart disease. Every year, millions of Americans show up and show out to support American Heart Month. In the process, they pave the way for a more heart-healthy future.
What are you doing to show your heart some love this month?
Breaking news, making headlines, and taking the topic of conversations around the country, it’s no secret that heart disease is the most pressing health problem in the United States. That’s why, this month, it’s more important than ever that you educate yourself and your loved ones about the dangers of heart disease.
You can’t prevent a problem if you don’t fully understand it — so start by getting the facts.
You probably already knew that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US, but did you know that:
“Heart disease” is an all-encompassing term that refers to many different types of diseases. However, the most common types of heart disease are:
Heart disease has many different risk factors, which include:
The top 3 risk factors for heart disease, though, are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking. According to the CDC, about half of all Americans (47%) have at least 1 of these 3 risk factors.
The situation seems grim, but initiatives like American Heart Month — and the organizations that sponsor it, like the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and The Heart Truth — strategically position themselves to help Americans overcome risk factors, lead healthier lives, and keep their hearts healthy and strong for years to come.
Find out how healthy your heart is by visiting the Mayo Clinic’s Heart Disease Risk Calculator.
This February, listen to your heart. Try out any of these ideas to commemorate American Heart Month — and do your part to get family, friends, physicians, and pharmacists involved.
Heart health is a challenge we all have to face together, but you can make the first move. This month:
Help raise awareness about heart disease by sporting your favorite red t-shirt, necktie, or pair of sneakers.
See the status of your heart and encourage your loved ones to go in for their regular screening, too
If you need some inspiration, use recipes from NHLBI’s website. Try a classic chicken quesadilla, a jumpin’ jambalaya, or dozens of other dishes that will make your heart (and your taste buds) sing. Get your friends involved by hosting a potluck dinner.
Start a walking club at work or in your neighborhood, or get involved with a local rec team. Exercising with other people can keep you accountable and give you a chance to stay social, too.
Take a stroll through the park, a scenic hike, or a friendly sports game. Nothing says “I love you” like looking out for your loved one’s health.
A little friendly competition can motivate your team to stay active, especially if there’s a prize offered at the end.
Chronic stress is linked to heart disease, so make some time to kick back, relax, and enjoy yourself this month.
Use your favorite platforms to share valuable information about heart health. NHLBI offers a variety of social media resources, ranging from motion graphics to GIFs to state-based infographics.
When you post this month, use this hashtag to share valuable information with familiar faces and connect with ones. Find #OurHearts resources here.
Reach out to lawmakers, doctors, nurses, and community pharmacists to help spread the word. Request that they share information, plan events, and enact policies that support heart health.
To explore each of these ideas and more, visit NHLBI’s 25 Ways to Take Part in Heart Month.
February is the month of love, but it’s also the month to show some love to your heart. This month, during American Heart Month, take the time to prioritize your cardiovascular health and help others prioritize theirs.
By taking the right steps and using the right resources, you can make a difference in your community.
After all, nothing beats a healthy heart.