February 1964 was the first American Heart Month, proclaimed by United States President Lyndon B. Johnson. Since then, each U.S. president has issued an annual proclamation to designate February as American Heart Month. Since cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S., it’s easy to see why this designation is so important. To do our part to raise awareness during American Heart Month, the team at Chai Urgent Care has put together this short guide, which outlines the impact and risks of cardiovascular disease as well as ways you can decrease your risk with lifestyle changes.
The Impact of Cardiovascular Disease
One out of every four deaths in the U.S. is caused by cardiovascular disease. Claiming over 17.9 million lives per year, it’s the number one cause of death around the globe. Contrary to popular belief, this type of disease can occur at any age. For 35 to 64-year-olds, rising obesity and blood pressure rates are putting them at increased risk for early-onset heart disease. Plus, 50% of all Americans have at least one of the three major heart disease risk factors, which include:
- High blood pressure: when uncontrolled, this risk factor increases the risk of heart disease and other harmful conditions, like stroke.
- High cholesterol: diabetes, obesity, smoking, and an unhealthy diet and exercise regimen contribute to higher cholesterol.
- Smoking: smokers’ blood vessels are damaged when they inhale harmful fumes, causing heart disease.
Because cardiovascular disease affects the lives of so many and has dire consequences, it’s critical to be informed about the causes, risk factors, and things you can do to prevent the disease. That’s why Chai Urgent Care believes American Hearth Month is so important. The goal of realizing a healthier America is one we stand behind, and we can accomplish it by raising awareness about cardiovascular disease.
How Can I Decrease My Risk?
The most important thing to do this American Heart Month is to implement healthy lifestyle changes. If you’re looking for ways to be healthier this February, Chai Urgent Care recommends the following strategies:
- Abstain from smoking: Get help quitting or abstain from smoking, which is the number one cause of preventable death in the U.S.
- Stay active: Aim to be active for at least 150 minutes each week to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Manage your conditions: If you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or another adverse health condition, talk to your doctor about how to best manage them.
- Eat a healthy diet: Eat foods that are low in trans-fats, saturated fats, sugar, and sodium.
Ways to Raise Awareness During American Heart Month
American Heart Month is a time to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease and its prevention. During this month of observance, there are many ways that you can make a difference. For example, you can spark a positive conversation by making a social media post, encourage your family to switch out salt for lower-sodium spices, engage in conversations with medical professionals about ways to prevent heart disease, and more. No form of action is too small.
Getting Heart Healthy with Chai Urgent Care
At Chai Urgent Care, we hope that you decide to take positive action this American Heart Month. By making regular doctor’s appointments and staying up-to-date on your health screenings, you can further reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease. Visit your nearest Chai Urgent Care location to receive quick, efficient testing at your convenience.