Heart disease kills an estimated 610,000 Americans each year. It’s the leading cause of death for both men and women. In the United States, the most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease (CAD), which can lead to a heart attack. You can greatly reduce your risk for CAD through lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medication. Since 1963, February has been celebrated as American Heart Month to urge Americans to join the battle against heart disease¹.
The good news is that heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create opportunities for people to make healthier choices.
Take time during February to learn about your risks for heart disease. Stay “heart healthy” for yourself and your loved ones. Make a difference in your community: Spread the word about strategies for preventing heart disease and encourage people to live heart healthy lives.
How can American Heart Month make a difference?
We can use this month to raise awareness about heart disease and how people can prevent it both at home and in the community.
Here are just a few ideas²:
- Encourage families to make small changes, like using spices to season their food instead of salt.
- Motivate teachers and administrators to make physical activity a part of the school day. This can help students start good habits early.
- Ask doctors and nurses to be leaders in their communities by speaking out about ways to prevent heart disease.
- Don’t smoke. If you smoke, quit as soon as possible. Visit http://www.smokefree.gov for tips on quitting.