February is Heart Awareness Month. The purpose is to raise awareness about heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the nation. In this blog, I’ll share a few statistics, the risk factors, some nutrition tips, and lastly, I’ll offer up some ways to celebrate.
Heart Disease remains the number 1 cause of death in the US.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for African American women.
Coronary heart disease accounted for approximately 13% of deaths in the US in 2017, causing 365,914 deaths.
According to data from 2005 to 2014, the estimated annual incidence of heart attack in the US was 605,000 for new attacks and 200,000 for recurrent attacks. The average age at the first heart attack was 65.6 years for males and 72.0 years for females.
Approximately every 40 seconds an American will have a heart attack.
From 2007 to 2017, the annual death rate attributable to coronary heart disease declined 28.1% and the actual number of deaths declined 10.0%, but the burden and risk factors remain alarmingly high.
The estimated direct and indirect cost of heart disease in 2014 to 2015 (average annual) was $218. 7 billion.
Heart attacks ($12.1 billion) and Coronary Heart Disease ($9.0 billion) were 2 of the 10 most expensive conditions treated in US hospitals in 2013.
Nearly 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented; cardiovascular diseases continue to be a woman’s greatest health threat.
Risk Factors: Your risk of heart disease is higher if you:
Have high blood pressure – greater than 140/90.
Have high blood cholesterol – higher than 240mg/dL
Are overweight or obese
Have prediabetes or diabetes
Do not get regular physical activity
Have a family history of early heart disease (your father or brother was diagnosed before age 55, or your mother or sister was diagnosed before age 65)
Have a history of preeclampsia (a sudden rise in blood pressure and too much protein in the urine during pregnancy)
Have unhealthy eating behaviors
Are older (age 55 or older for women or age 45 or older for men)
Healthy heart nutrition tips
To lower your blood pressure, consider the DASH diet. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to stop Hypertension and is a diet helps you to lower your sodium.
Include plenty of fresh whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other high-fiber foods in your diet daily.
Control your portion sizes.
Eat healthy fats like olive and avocado oil and limit unhealthy fats like saturated and trans fats.
Choose lean quality meat, poultry and fish.
Allow yourself an occasional treat.
Ways to celebrate Heart Month and beyond
Get moving - Moving more is one of the easiest ways you can lower your risk of getting heart disease. Not sure where to begin? Just start walking. Thirty minutes a day will make a tremendous difference. If you can’t manage to carve out 30 minutes, break it down into 10 minute chunks.
Host a potluck and encourage everyone invited to bring a heart healthy dish to share.
Schedule your annual physical this month. Encourage your family and friends to do the same.
Seek things to be grateful for and do something nice for someone else.