Every year, the American Heart Association sponsors Heart Awareness in February. This campaign aims to help people understand how heart health can impact their overall health. There are many ways that people of all ages can make positive changes to benefit their hearts. Here are some interesting heart health facts and tips that anyone can try.
Heart Disease by the Numbers
Heart disease can take many forms, but the most common type is coronary heart disease. In the U.S., more than 16,200,000 people currently have coronary heart disease. But coronary heart disease is only one type of cardiovascular disease affecting millions of people. In fact, more than 11% of U.S. adults have some form of heart disease. That’s about one in every nine people.
National Wear Red Day®
One way the American Heart Association raises awareness is by getting the word out about National Wear Red Day. Most people associate the color red with hearts. National Wear Red Day occurs on the first Friday of February. In addition to wearing red, you can access social media to get others involved in Wear Red Day. Finally, many people will use the hashtag #OurHearts on their heart awareness-related posts.
Built Heart Healthy Habits
Whether you have a cardiovascular disease diagnosis or not, focusing on your heart health can be good for you. Fortunately, there are many easy ways to build a more heart-healthy lifestyle. You can even make small changes to the things you currently do that can benefit you. For example, when you watch TV, you can stand and stretch during commercials or even try jumping jacks. Even short periods of activity can do a world of good.
The weather may be dreary in Illinois in February, but even a short walk outside can do your heart good. From parking further away from store entrances to planning a hike, there are many ways to increase your step count. The sun may be hiding more often in February, but even the little bit between the clouds can help you.
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Your Mood Can Help or Harm
One thing that can affect your heart health more than you realize is how you handle stress and anxiety. We can’t always change everything in our lives that worries us. However, it’s important to recognize that stress and learn healthier ways to deal with it. For example, exercise, making time for hobbies, and spending time with friends and loved ones can do your heart good. In fact, reducing stress can have a huge impact on your risk for more severe disease.
This February, take some time to check in with your doctor about your heart health. Then, spread awareness and join in on the discussions. Finally, try adding one or two new healthy habits for National Heart Awareness Month.